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Consensus on FDI retail soon

India is possibly closer than ever to throwing open its multibrand retail sector - supermarkets such as Walmart - to foreign investment, a politically thorny issue that has evaded resolution for years.

world Updated: Dec 09, 2010 00:14 IST
HT Correspondent

India is possibly closer than ever to throwing open its multibrand retail sector - supermarkets such as Walmart - to foreign investment, a politically thorny issue that has evaded resolution for years.

A consensus is "around the corner", Indian commerce secretary Rahul Khullar told Wall Street Journal in an interview in New Delhi. "The status quo will definitely change," he added.

But he didn't elaborate on the size of the FDI to be allowed.

The news of an approaching consensus in itself, however, will be music to US ears, which has been trying to prise open this part of the Indian market for years. And it is among the big trade issues between the two countries, with retail in financial services.

Fear of the street-corner kirana stores being wiped out by multibrand giants has held up the move, though the Planning commission has argued to the contrary.