It looks like Amazon is off to a rough start with the launch of its same-day delivery service in Paris. The city’s mayor vowed to be “intransigent vis-a-vis Amazon” in a move that shows just how fraught relationships have been between expanding U.S. tech firms and preservationist European officials.
The city’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, said in a statement that this service could “seriously destabilize the balance of trade in Paris”. She also pointed out the fact that Amazon only informed the city of the delivery service a few days before the launch.
The Prime Now service is available to Premium members who pay an annual subscription fee of €49. They can now get their orders delivered in an hour for €5.90 or for free within 2 hours on orders of €20 or more.
The service delivers thousands of different items ranging from electronics to groceries. But it’s the food delivery service that has city leaders the most on edge as they fear what it will do to the city’s multitude of small food vendors and shops. This might sound anti-competitive from an American viewpoint but the thinking is representative of a widely-held view that the government should actively regulate the market to avoid the worst consequences of unchecked capitalism.
In her statement, Hidalgo urged the legislature to define the laws ensuring protections for small businesses against unfair competition. The highly popular Socialist mayor also called for an inspection into whether the new delivery service would cause substantial increases in air pollution and roadway clogging.
But as acrimonious as the city has been toward the launch of Amazon’s delivery service, they know the company hasn’t broken any rules and they can’t stop the service outright. Prime Now already operates in 40 cities across the world, including London, and the company will continue to provide goods to the city and suburbs of Paris out of a factory located in the 18th arrondissement.
This is just the latest punch thrown in an ongoing saga with Amazon and the French authorities. In 2014, the company began offering one centime euro deliveries on its books when the legislature banned them from offering free shipping on books in a ruling nicknamed the “Anti-Amazon law.”
And Amazon is not alone. Uber and Airbnb have both fallen under the French government’s scrutiny as well. Most recently, a French court slapped Uber with an 800,000 euro fine because its UberPOP service caused “durable disruption” of the transport sector.