EU’s Antitrust Charges against Amazon at Odds with Reality

The European Commission today announced it was charging Amazon with antitrust violations, accusing the retailer of using data from third-party sellers to benefit its own retail offerings.

CEI senior fellow Ryan Young said:

“Whether intentionally or not, the EU’s antitrust case against Amazon is trade protectionism by another name, at a time when the global economy cannot afford it.

“It also falls for the relevant market fallacy. This is using fancy terminology to say that Amazon dominates an unrealistically narrow market. In this case, the EU argues that Amazon dominates ‘marketplace services’ and ‘online platforms.’ Amazon is, in fact, a low-margin retailer. And it has a roughly 1 percent global market share. It sells things in a variety of ways, and people can buy them in a variety of ways—or not, as they choose.

“Amazon has made retail more competitive. Amazon’s third-party seller services give smaller businesses access to a global market they did not previously have. Traditional large retailers, such as Walmart and Target in the U.S., have expanded their online options to compete against Amazon. So have grocery stores—which is important in the age of COVID. It is difficult to make an argument that these developments have harmed consumers or producers.”

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