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HindustanTimes Sat,01 Nov 2014

Wal-Mart lobby bill hits Rs. 125-cr on India entry, other cases

PTI  Washington/New Delhi, December 09, 2012
First Published: 11:27 IST(9/12/2012) | Last Updated: 15:25 IST(9/12/2012)

Global retail giant Wal-Mart, waiting for years to open its supermarkets in the country, has been lobbying with the US lawmakers since 2008 to facilitate its entry into the highly lucrative domestic market.

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As per the lobbying disclosure reports filed by Wal-Mart with the US Senate, the company has spent close to $25 million (about Rs. 125 crore) since 2008 on its various lobbying activities, including on the issues related to "enhanced market access for investment in India".


In the last quarter ended September 30, 2012 itself, the company spent $1.65 million (about Rs. 10 crore) on various lobbying issues, which included "discussions related to FDI in India".

During the quarter, Wal-Mart lobbied for its case with the US Senate, the US House of Representatives, the US Trade Representative (USTR) and the US Department of State, as per its latest quarterly disclosure report.

The companies are allowed to lobby for their cases in various departments and agencies in the US, but they are required to file their lobbying disclosure reports every quarter with the US Senate.

So far in 2012, Wal-Mart has spent more than $3 million or about Rs. 18 crore on its various lobbying activities, including those related to the country.

As per Wal-Mart's lobbying disclosure reports, the company has continuously lobbied for its India entry since 2008, except for a few quarters in 2009.

The government recently opened up its multi-brand retail sector for foreign companies after years of political opposition and a Parliament motion against this decision was defeated last week in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

The US-based supermarket chain operator Wal-Mart Stores, which has an annual turnover of $444 billion and a world-wide headcount of 2.2 million, has been eyeing for a long time to enter the country.

The domestic retail market is estimated to be worth about $500 billion currently and is pegged to cross $1 trillion mark by 2020, given the rising personal income and growing consumer spending trends.

According to a report by global consultancy major AT Kearney, the organised retail is expected to reach 25% of the overall market by 2020.

The report also said that the country remains one of the most favourable destinations for international retailers and an accelerated retail growth of 15-20% is expected over the next five years.


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