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Amazon documents reveal secret strategy to dodge India’s regulators

It was early 2019, and senior Amazon.com Inc executive Jay Carney was preparing for an important meeting. The former press secretary to U.S. President Barack Obama, Mr. Carney was scheduled to talk with India’s ambassador to the United States in Washington, D.C. In Delhi, the government had just announced foreign direct investment regulations that threatened to disrupt Amazon’s business in the world’s second most populous country.

Before the meeting, Amazon employees prepared a draft note for Mr. Carney. The note, reviewed by Reuters, advised Mr. Carney what to say — and what not to say.

He should highlight the fact that Amazon had committed more than $5.5 billion in investment in India and how it provided an online platform for 4,00,000-plus Indian sellers. But he was cautioned not to divulge that some 33 Amazon sellers accounted for about a third of the value of all goods sold on the company’s website. That information, the note advised, was “Sensitive/not for disclosure.”

 

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