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Politics Bezos to stress 'strikingly large' global retail market, jobs in opening remarks before Congress

03:40  29 july  2020
03:40  29 july  2020 Source:   thehill.com

Big tech CEOs release opening statements before antitrust hearing

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While Amazon dominates on-line retail , Jeff Bezos says it represents a "low single-digit percentage" of the total market . I'm a retail passionate who lives in Sydney, Australia but covers the world. Secondly, the Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon is planning to open a brand new grocery chain

Jeff Bezos wearing a suit and tie: Bezos to stress 'strikingly large' global retail market, jobs in opening remarks before Congress © Getty Images Bezos to stress 'strikingly large' global retail market, jobs in opening remarks before Congress

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos will point to what he calls a "strikingly large" global retail market and the hundreds of thousands of jobs the e-commerce giant has created over the decades in his opening remarks before Congress on Wednesday.

Bezos is set to testify before lawmakers in Washington for the first time as part of a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing that zeroes in on the power and size of Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple. The hearing, which will be conducted virtually due to the coronavirus outbreak, comes as the committee nears the conclusion of a year-long probe into the conduct of the companies and whether they have performed in anti-completive ways.

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  Tech titans in the spotlight at US antitrust hearing US lawmakers will grill the chiefs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google Wednesday about how they wield marketplace power in what promises to be a rare political spectacle. The unprecedented joint appearance before the House Judiciary Committee features Tim Cook of Apple, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Sundar Pichai of Google and its parent firm Alphabet. The CEOs of four of the world's most powerful companies will testify remotely, less than 100 days before the US election.It will be the first time Bezos has testified before a congressional committee.

Bezos was asked a similar question at an internal meeting in March about Amazon's size and the potential for government regulation. Bezos is addressing the concerns as Amazon prepares to expand into two new headquarters locations in New York and Virginia.

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In expansive opening remarks published on Amazon's website Tuesday night, Bezos is set to focus on his personal background as well as the company's evolution from an online bookstore to a behemoth in both e-commerce and cloud services.

"I believe Amazon should be scrutinized," Bezos said. "We should scrutinize all large institutions, whether they're companies, government agencies, or non-profits. Our responsibility is to make sure we pass such scrutiny with flying colors."

But Bezos will also emphasize Amazon's position in a global retail market that he describes as "extraordinarily competitive." In his opening statement, he points to data that shows 80 retailers in the U.S. earn more than $1 billion in revenue each year and notes that Walmart is "more than twice Amazon's size."

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The hearing with Jeff Bezos , Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai and Tim Cook was postponed from July 27 because of plans to honor the late civil rights icon The hearing may be a particular test for Bezos , who’s never testified before Congress . Cicilline has questioned the accuracy of prior testimony by an

Bezos Expeditions has invested in biotech companies seeking to cure cancer, agriculture tech companies aiming to solve world hunger, finance tech companies empowering underserved communities and educational tech companies helping people prepare for an evolving job market .

He'll also argue that Amazon's scale has led to its role as the biggest jobs creator in the U.S. over the last decade. In addition, his opening remarks point to Amazon's success as a marketplace for third-party sellers, estimating "that third-party businesses selling in Amazon's stores have created over 2.2 million new jobs around the world."

Bezos is likely to face a series of questions about Amazon's dual role as an online marketplace and the seller of goods, as well as allegations that it has used sales data from third-party sellers to make competing products. A report from The Wall Street Journal earlier this year about the alleged practice prompted Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), the chair of the panel, to suggest that an Amazon official may have lied to Congress while testifying in 2019.

"At best, Amazon's witness appears to have misrepresented key aspects of Amazon's business practices while omitting important details in response to pointed questioning," Cicilline said. "At worst, the witness Amazon sent to speak on its behalf may have lied to Congress."

Amazon has said that it prohibits employees from using nonpublic, seller-specific data when determining what new products to launch.

Scrutiny of Amazon has heightened exponentially in recent years as the company continued to grow in size. The company was estimated in February to have about 44 percent of the U.S. e-commerce market share.

Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google are all the subjects of investigations from Congress and the Justice Department. Wednesday's hearing will represent the first time a contingent of CEOs of big tech companies will appear for a congressional hearing at the same time.

Prosecutors are investigating Amazon’s treatment of third-party sellers .
Attorneys general from New York and California are joining the FTC to look into Amazon MarketplaceThe news comes after intense questioning over Amazon’s Marketplace practices during the hearing. Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA) asked CEO Jeff Bezos whether its actions toward Marketplace sellers was a pattern of behavior. She played testimony from a third-party bookseller who believed Amazon had blocked their store, without providing an explanation why, effectively destroying her business.

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