Commerce Minister Anand Sharma 'snubs' Wal-Mart Asia chief, cancels meeting

Oct 31 2013, 17:05 IST
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Walmart Asia President and CEO Scott Price listens to a moderator's comments at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit in Bali, Indonesia. (AP) Walmart Asia President and CEO Scott Price listens to a moderator's comments at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit in Bali, Indonesia. (AP)
SummaryScott Price had sought an appointment with Sharma after US retail giant snapped ties with Bharti.

In a move that is being seen as a snub to Wal-Mart, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma today cancelled a meeting with US retail giant's Asia head Scott Price.

The meeting, scheduled for Friday, has been cancelled, a top source in Sharma's ministry said.

Wal-Mart Asia head Price had sought an appointment with Sharma shortly after the US retail giant snapped ties with Bharti Enterprise.

Sources said the Wal-Mart has not clearly spelt out their India plans and the policy support they require for that.

"Wal-Mart officials have met us several times and have always raises one or other new issue. They are not conveying what exactly they want," the source added.

He said Sharma cancelling the meet could well be a snub to Wal-Mart.

Bharti Enterprises and Wal-Mart had said on October 9 that they are ending their six-year partnership and going their separate ways to operate in the Indian retail sector.

The two companies joined hands in 2007 and started their first wholesale store in Amritsar in May 2009.

After the government allowed 51 per cent foreign direct investment in multi-brand retailing in September last year, Wal-Mart had expressed inability to meet a norm on sourcing 30 per cent of its requirement from local small industries.

While the US company has sought clarifications on the sourcing requirement, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, a wing of the Commerce Ministry, has said there is no plan to relax the norm.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram had said that Wal-Mart will be a 'speck' in India's market and its absence won't make a huge difference in the country.

"Wal-Mart will be a speck in India's retail market. India's retail market is driven by millions of standalone stores. It has been strengthened by Indian retail chains. So why do we assume that Wal-Mart will make a huge difference to India's retail market?" he had said.

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