London ouster of Uber not justified: US commerce chief

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Wilbur Ross, Secretary of the US Department of Commerce, answers a question during the Concordia Summit in Manhattan, New York, US, on Tuesday. — Reuters

WASHINGTON — The decision by London transport authorities to oust US ride-hailing firm Uber is "not really justified," US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Friday.

Ross, who acknowledged that the Uber issue is not one he is responsible for, nonetheless criticized European authorities for unfairly targeting American technology firms.

"It looks pretty obvious that they're becoming discriminated against because they're worried our companies are so much stronger than the ones in Europe itself," Ross said on CNBC.

Transport for London said the conduct of Uber, which has around 40,000 drivers and 3.5 million customers in the British capital, had "demonstrated a lack of corporate responsibility," and the agency would not renew the company's license to operate.

"I think what's happening with Uber is really not very justified in London," Ross said. Although it is for British authorities to decide, Ross insisted that "Uber is a wonderful invention," and the problem is "London cabbies have been slow in adjusting to the new system."

London's traditional cab drivers have long campaigned against the ride-sharing app, and supported the decision, but Uber said it will appeal.

London joins other cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai and Cape Town in blocking Uber, and the decision adds to woes for the company's new boss Dara Khosrowshahi following a string of controversies under his predecessor. — AFP


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