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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 September 5 - 11  > Amazon's tax evasion tactics create unfair competition
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2018 September 5 - 11 TOP3 [ECONOMY]

Amazon's tax evasion tactics create unfair competition

September 6, 2018
Amazon.com, Inc. has increased its worldwide sales more than 1,200-fold since its going public in 1997. Using its strength of convenience and low prices of items, Amazon has attracted customers away from its competitors and has expanded its market by buying rival companies with advanced technology.

Amazon's dodging of an enormous amount of taxes, which underlies its low-cost strategy, has been under fire from the international community. It is not accidental that Amazon, Apple and Google, the major U.S. IT companies conquering the world market, are "the masters" of tax avoidance. The U.S. administration has been contributing greatly to these companies so that they can take advantage of loopholes in international tax laws in order to evade paying their fair share of taxes. These tech giants have been using the huge profits they make from their tax-avoidance tactics to further strengthen their competitiveness.

Also, Amazon stands out for its acts against human rights and its disregard of the rules of each country. Japan, for example, has the book resale price maintenance system, but Amazon violates this rule and, in effect, continues to sell books at discount prices, posing a threat to Japan's publishing culture. In many countries, Amazon has fulfillment centers (FC) where many workers pass out from the excessive heat under harsh working conditions and are taken to hospital. In an International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) poll some years ago, the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, was chosen as the winner of the title of the world's worst boss.

Many Japanese consumers now enjoy the convenience of shopping online. In general, convenience involves costs such as shipping cost to a certain extent. However, Amazon avoids shouldering these costs. So, who bears them? In fact, those costs have been passed on to taxpayers, workers, delivery companies, and contractors. Unless fair competition is ensured by having large companies fulfill their corporate social responsibility, the economy and society as a whole will warp.

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