Middlemen hamper e-commerce

A paper from the Progressive Policy Institute in the US reports that traditional intermediaries such as retailers, distributors, brokers and other middlemen are threatening the development of e-commerce in the US. The Institute, a Washington-based policy think tank made up of centrist Democrats, says the middlemen are using legislative, judicial and regulatory measures to thwart e-commerce initiatives.

The PPI points out that car dealers have lobbied successfully to introduce laws preventing auto manufacturers from selling cars online in 49 US states, while wine wholesalers have lobbied Congress and state governments to prevent wineries from selling over the Net.

The Institute estimates that the actions of middlemen protecting their positions are costing consumers at least $US15 billion each year.

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