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Paris mayor proposes laws to control Amazon deliveries

The mayor of Paris has proposed new laws and taxes that would control the number of deliveries made by online shopping giant Amazon, which have been judged “a source of congestion and pollution”.

In an open letter published by newspaper Le Monde on Sunday November 24, mayor Anne Hidalgo proposed a tax on the US commerce giant, and possible “limits” on deliveries in certain districts of the city.

Deliveries would only be possible at certain times, and would need to be reserved in advance, to avoid there being “more delivery trucks than available spaces”, the proposals said.

The letter was also signed by urban deputy Jean-Louis Missika; mayor of the fourth arrondissement, Ariel Weil; and co-founder of communications agency Stroïka, Diana Filippova. It focused mainly on Amazon, but also on food delivery car service, “Uber Eats and other platforms”.

The letter comes as Paris prepares for the annual “Black Friday” shopping sales on Friday, November 29.

This huge shopping event leads to “2.5 million deliveries [in Paris] per day, which is ten times’ the amount of daily parcels seen in the rest of the year”, and causes increased traffic and pollution, the letter said. It added that it feared that the day could soon become “a nightmare” on a par with US cities such as New York.

The letter said that the “main polluter” should pay the costs, rather than “a national tax on each delivery, which has been thrown out several times by the government”.

The “law should allow local authorities to impose an ‘eco charge’ on home deliveries”, it continued.

The proposals come as a report was published in France on Sunday, denouncing what it termed Amazon’s “fiscal, social and environmental impunity”, and alleged “under-declaring of taxes” in France by 58%.

The report came from ecologist NGO Les Amis de la Terre, fiscal justice association Attac, and workers’ union Solidaires. It also said that Amazon’s Cloud data system host AWS had emitted “55.8 tonnes of greenhouse gas in 2018, the same amount as Portugal”.

Paris MP and former digital junior minister Mounir Mahjoubi also said last Thursday (November 21) that “Amazon destroys more jobs than it creates”. He had calculated that 7,901 jobs had been “lost” in France when compared to the number of people that would otherwise have been needed to provide the same number of deliveries through more traditional shopping methods.

On Sunday, Amazon rejected the claims.

In a statement, it said: “We refute this incorrect information, which is based on very many factual errors and unfounded speculation. Amazon pays all the necessary taxes in France, and in all of the countries in which it is present.

“With more than 9,300 jobs in France expected from now before the end of the year, we have become a major employer and our ‘marketplace’ has allowed the creation of thousands of extra jobs in SMEs that sell on our site.”

Amazon added that it had created more jobs in France between 2013 and 2016, and said that any calculations had been made from data outside of Amazon.

It also said that the emission calculations had underestimated the size of the cloud computing sector, and were wrongly based on estimates of far less-efficient servers than those used at AWS.

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