To Recognise Retail E-Commerce as an Industry in India

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This query is on behalf of 1000s of Retail E-commerce EXPORTERS from India.

India has over 25000 Retail Ecommerce Exporters. Since 2012, these E-commerce Exporters are pleading the Government to recognize their business as an industry.

The Retail e-commerce exports happen through two mediums

1. Through marketplaces who connect buyers and sellers- Amazon, eBay, Etsy etc. The marketplaces are NEVER the buyer of our product. They ONLY act as a market-maker. The payments of hundreds of small transactions are collected by Amazon/eBay and disbursed to our Indian bank account once a fortnight in INR.

2. Directly through website- Buyer directly places the order on our website. The payment (in 99.99% cases) is handled by PayPal and they combine payments of multiple transactions and send payment to our bank account in INR after deducting their service fees.

The Retail E-commerce Transactions are fully documented on the websites such as eBay and PayPal and Amazon.

EVERY online E-commerce Exporter all over the country faces these MAJOR DIFFICULTIES:

1. No option of sending small shipments ( less than 50$ value ) legally TILL DATE : Lakhs of low value goods are exported from India directly to customers all across the world. The goods include fashion jewellery, T-Shirts, small food packets etc. IndiaPost is the only option available for most of the sellers. There is no way to send them as a legal commercial shipment even now.

2. Remittances received till now for e-commerce shipments: Thousands of sellers are selling internationally on eBay/Amazon/own website since 10 years, and some even since 15 years. All the shippers have proof of sale, proof of dispatch and payment received in INR from PayPal/ Amazon. However the shipments were sent via IndiaPost for MOST of these sellers, and few sellers sent via DHL/FedEx etc which too didn't provide any option of sending small e-commerce shipments and hence the shipments didn't go through the commercial clearance process.

A common response we have received is: “If a transaction involves money, it has to be sent under commercial mode". However, it is absolutely clear that sending, for instance, a 20$ Kurta / Salwar was not possible under commercial mode due to the FIXED charge of Rs.2550, enormous documentation and large number of transactions.

The DGFT has allowed ONLY THREE POST OFFICES IN INDIA to process the Postal Bill of Export. These Post Offices are in Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai Only. Hence, it is impossible for an E-commerce Exporter to go to these cities on daily basis and get the Postal Bill of Export.

We plead to the Government of India to recognize Retail E-Commerce as an Industry and provide us the procedures that facilitate this business.