Retailers look to ACCC for Amazon protection

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Retailers look to ACCC for Amazon protection

But regulator is unconvinced.

E-commerce giant Amazon is already the subject of regulatory overtures from Australian retail rivals, but the ACCC is unconvinced the e-tailer is “anti-competitive” just because it’s big.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims today said the regulator had already fielded complaints that the arrival of Amazon in Australia "could be anti-competitive".

Sims said it was “fascinating” that some of the complainants were among “the loudest opponents” of recent Section 46 changes to competition laws, which are designed to stop firms wielding market power to reduce competition in their respective markets.

“Amazon’s entry into Australia will be good for consumers, despite it not being good for some incumbent retailers,” he said in an RBB Economics conference address in Sydney.

“Some of these incumbents have even called for ACCC intervention to act against Amazon’s business model.”

Sims said the ACCC wanted to see “vigorous competition” where “firms, large or small, compete on their merits”.

“In competitive markets, there will be winners and losers,” he said.

“Some firms prosper while others go out of business. This is a harsh reality.”

But he said protecting the competitive process "is about ensuring winners and losers are determined by the quality of the offers firms make to consumers".

“Firms that offer consumers a better deal should be rewarded irrespective of their size,” Sims said.

“To some this may seem unfair. But it is this process that drives innovation, better business practices and lower prices for all Australians.”

Amazon’s entry into the Australian market has been keenly watched. It is still yet to officially launch retail operations, though it is continuing behind-the-scenes preparations, including buying up warehouse space.

Its entry has seen traditional retailers try to bolster their own digital offerings in an attempt to compete with the new entrant.

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