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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Reliance Industries terminates US lobbying

PTI  Washington, January 20, 2013
First Published: 12:42 IST(20/1/2013) | Last Updated: 19:52 IST(20/1/2013)

Amid a huge uproar over lobbying by American firms to gain access to Indian market, India's leading corporate house Reliance Industries has terminated its lobbying activities among the US lawmakers after having spent nearly 2 million dollars (over Rs. 10 crore) to its lobbyist here in the past four years.

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Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries (RIL) began lobbying among the US lawmakers through leading lobbyist firm, Barbour Griffith & Rogers LLC (BGR), in January 2009 for its business activities and other causes.

However, the company had put on hold its lobbying activities here for the past five quarters and it has now terminated its lobby registration itself in the US.

The company, which has been expanding its presence in global markets, including the US, in the recent years and has interests in businesses ranging from energy, polyester and retail to telecom back in India, has paid a total amount of $1.88 million (over Rs. 10 crore) to its US lobbyist since January 2009.

According to its latest lobbying disclosure report dated January 18, filed with the US Senate through BGR, it terminated its lobbying registration with the US authorities on January 11.

The disclosure further mentioned that there was "no lobbying issue activity" during the last quarter, which ended on December 31, 2012. This was the fifth consecutive quarter when BGR reported 'no lobbying activity' for its client RIL among the US lawmakers.

Lobbying in the government departments and other institutions is a legal activity in the US, but all the registered lobby firms are required to make a disclosure every quarter about the payments received by them, as also the details of their lobbying activities.

BGR also happens to be the lobbyist for the Indian government, as also the software industry body Nasscom, another major Indian entity doing lobbying in the US. Nasscom is currently lobbying in the US through one more lobbyist, the Lande Group.

The Indian government and Nasscom continued their lobbying activities in the US unabated during the last quarter and paid $180,000 (about Rs. 1 crore) and USD 100,000 respectively to their lobbyists between October and December 2012.

Last month, disclosures about huge lobbying spending incurred by US-based global retail giant Wal-Mart Stores in the US on various issues including its entry into the Indian market generated a heated political debate in India.


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