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Pfizer, Boeing, IBM lobbying hard on Indian issues

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SummaryWalmart has surprisingly halted its lobbying on India-focussed issues in the last quarter.

At least two dozen American companies and industry groups are lobbying hard with the US lawmakers on issues related to their Indian business interests and bilateral trade issues between the two countries, even as retail giant Walmart has halted such activities.

According to latest lobbying disclosure reports filed with the US Senate and the House of Representatives, Pfizer, IBM, Boeing, Dow Chemicals, Yum Brands and Colgate Palmolive are among the major companies that lobbied with the US lawmakers in the second quarter on issues related to India.

Besides, a host of business chambers and industry bodies including those representing US companies in sectors like pharma, telecom, information technology and dairy, have also disclosed having lobbied on India-related issues.

The lobbying issues for these companies and groups in the last quarter included issues related to intellectual property, patent, market access, trade and investment issues related to their individual businesses, as also the bilateral treaties and trade issues between the US and India.

While many of these entities have been lobbying for many quarters on Indian issues to seek the support of the US lawmakers on their business interests in India, the world's largest supermarket chain operator Walmart surprisingly halted its lobbying on India-focussed issues in the last quarter.

A probe was earlier ordered by Indian government into Walmart's US lobbying for its India entry and the probe report is likely to be presented before the Parliament next month.

Lobbying is legal in the US, but the companies and their registered lobbyists need to make quarterly disclosures about such activities within a month of the end of every quarter.

Even some Indian companies, as also Indian government, have hired lobbyists in the US and make similar disclosures.

According to the disclosure made by Indian government's registered lobbyist, BGR, it spent an amount of USD 1,80,000 (about Rs 1 crore) as expenses towards discussions on "bilateral US-India relationship" with the US Senate, House of Representatives, US Trade Representative (USTR), as also Departments of State and Commerce in the second quarter.

The Indian government, which has been lobbying in the US since 2005, has spent similar amounts in many past quarters and earlier it had lobbied on the nuclear deal as well.

Among other major Indian entities that lobbied in the US during the last quarter, the lobbyists for Tata group entity, Tata America International, discussed issues like immigration reforms, high-skilled workforce issues and US-India relations. It spent at least USD 150,000 on lobbying in the quarter.

Software industry body Nasscom also lobbied on immigration related issues through its two lobbyists, BGR and Lande Group, and spent USD 100,000 for the same.

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