France Moves To Curb Book Discounts, Cites Amazon’s “predatory Behavior”

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France Toughens Book Pricing Rules for Amazon, Online Shops

(AMZN) with a new law aimed at supporting bookstores and volumes that arent immediate bestsellers. Frances national assembly today unanimously approved a proposed law that blocks online stores from offering free shipping on top of a 5 percent maximum discount on books. When delivery costs are waived, they should be accounted for within the rebate limit, according to the text. Free shipping, lets say it, is a dumping strategy, Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti said during the parliamentary debate. This law, far from preventing competition or blocking technological evolution, makes sure competition is fair between players in a fragile ecosystem. Amazon has a 70 percent share of the online book market in France, said Christian Kert, one of the bills authors. Retailer Groupe Fnac (FNAC) runs its own Internet bookstore. The amendment on shipping, which will next be voted on by the senate, builds on a 1981 law singling books out as a cultural exception, deserving a distinct set of pricing rules. In France, a books price is fixed by the editor and has to be the same regardless of the distribution channel, while discounts should follow strict rules, the law says. Any measure raising the price of books on the Internet will hurt the purchasing power of French people first and foremost, and discriminate against those who make purchases online, Sophie Touchot at Havas SA, which represents Amazon in France, said in an e-mailed statement. To contact the reporter on this story: Marie Mawad in Paris at mmawad1@bloomberg.net To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vidya Root at vroot@bloomberg.net

France selling ships _ and maybe arms _ to Mozambique in unusual deal

And the driving force behind the deal is a Lebanese billionaire with holdings across the Middle East and Africa who once faced investigation for his past financial dealings in France. Shaking hands and smiling, French President Francois Hollande and Mozambique President Armando Guebuza formally launched the ship-building project Monday at a struggling shipyard in Cherbourg, on Frances Atlantic coast. Shipbuilder Constructions mecaniques de Normandie (CMN) says the contract will provide two years of work for around 400 French employees. Mozambique officials say the ships will help fight illegal trafficking and piracy, and protect offshore oil and gas drilling platforms. The patrol ships will need naval guns and other military equipment, and so there are also negotiations under way about buying the needed weaponry from France, Mozambique Deputy Foreign Minister Henrique Banze said. Yes there will be weapons purchases, he told The Associated Press by telephone. Its important not only to have ships. There will also be a need to make sure that they are protected. He would not give details, but said the money for the ship deal came from a loan from another country, but I cant say which one. Hollandes office said the contract with CMN is just part of a larger global deal with the holding company Privinvest, owned by Lebanese magnate Iskandar Safa. Hollandes office wouldnt comment on the possible weapons negotiations because the deal is not public. Safa, who played a prominent role in Mondays events in Cherbourg, declined to give details on the agreements involved. Safa, who helped negotiate the release of French hostages in Lebanon in 1988, faced a French arrest warrant for several years in the 2000s because of suspicions around his financial transactions with senior French officials.

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