This is an open letter to a very concerned small American business owner in this time of great uncertainty. Amazon controls over half of the US e-commerce business in the US and it is being manipulated by Chinese sellers at the cost of American businesses across the country. At every turn Amazon is enabling Chinese sellers to squeeze out American businesses. I’m all for an open platform, but the playing field should be level. Chinese sellers have a seemingly endless ability to create new accounts. That says nothing of their extremely effective fake review machine. They can also easily skirt tariffs, as they are the very same manufacturers responsible for creating invoices that are used to clear customs in the first place. I’ve seen my Chinese suppliers side step customs using their network of California warehouses and it’s disconcerting to say the least.
I’m particularly troubled by the fact that American businesses cannot even create a presence on the Chinese mega-platforms like AliExpress and Alibaba. Given the problems small American businesses are facing with the Coronavirus, I’m concerned that this trend will only continue until all American vendors have been usurped by Chinese sellers. Yet another troubling trend is the exodus of taxpayer money going straight into the hands of the Chinese. I’m talking about the thousands of schools around the country using the Amazon purchase order system to buy school supplies that are sold directly by Chinese companies. This applies to all government institutions, not only schools. How on gods green earth are we okay with directly funding a people who do not share our open market and free market economy? When are we going to realize that this is a one way street?
It’s really not that difficult to do the right thing. I’m calling Jeff Bezos out personally to reflect upon how he runs his business and how that will ultimately shape his long term legacy. In these troubling times, it’s extremely apparent to me that protecting our people should be top priority. I’m faced with laying off all of my employees at my restaurant business, which was closed by the state of Ohio due to the pandemic and it’s heartbreaking. Jeff, I hope you realize that we small American retail businesses are essentially your employees and right now you are utterly failing us. Your long term legacy will be massive profits at the expense of small American businesses.
I don’t think finding an answer is impossible. Here’s a suggestion: Set aside one of your billions in profits and set up a system (based here in the US and employing Americans) to vet and identify every seller as a US or foreign owned entity based upon verified tax returns and banking records. Admittedly an enormous task and one that would take months to institute. Use that system to prioritize listings from sellers who operate in and who’s funds wind up in a free market country like ours. I’m sure that our leadership in the house and senate would approve and support these measures. This system could also be used to preclude government buyers from purchasing from Chinese sellers or any other seller who’s country is not willing to participate in an open and free marketplace like ours.
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