German antitrust watchdog subjects Amazon to stricter supervision rules

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FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves

BERLIN (Reuters) -Germany’s antitrust watchdog said on Wednesday that U.S. ecommerce giant Amazon’s position is of outstanding, cross-market importance for competition, a classification that allows the authority to prohibit any anti-competitive behaviour at an earlier stage.

The Federal Cartel Office also said it considers Amazon to be dominant in its marketplace services for third-party merchants.

“This means that the classic abuse control, which is applicable in parallel and on the basis of which we are currently already conducting proceedings against Amazon, also applies here,” it said.

Changes to Germany’s antitrust laws for digital corporations, which came into effect last year, give the Cartel Office more power in identifying and prohibiting some companies’ dominant positions.

Amazon said it disagreed with the Cartel Office’s assessment and would carefully review the decision as well as its options, including legal remedies.

“Amazon is first and foremost a retailer, and the total share of e-commerce in German retail sales has been estimated at only 14.7% for 2021 by the German Trade Association,” a spokesperson for Amazon said.

(Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Maria Sheahan and Thomas Escritt)

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