Walmart resumes lobbying for India FDI

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SummaryWalmart lobbyists discussed nearly 50 ‘specific issues’ with the US lawmakers during the quarter.

Global retail giant Walmart has resumed its lobbying with the US lawmakers on matters related to FDI in India and it spent $1.5 million on about 50 specific issues, including those related to Indian market during the last quarter.

“Discussions regarding Foreign Direct Investment in India” is one of the ten-odd specific issues in the area of trade that were carried out by registered lobbyists on behalf of Walmart during third quarter of 2013, according to its latest Lobbying Disclosure Form submitted to the US Senate.

Overall, Walmart lobbyists discussed nearly 50 ‘specific issues’ with the US lawmakers during the quarter, resulting into total expenses of $1.5 million relating to lobbying activities for the period, shows the 19-page disclosure report.

Walmart’s lobbying activities covered the Senate, House of Representatives, Department of State, US Trade Representatives, US Agency for International Development and the Department of Labour, among others. As per Congressional records, Walmart had halted its lobbying with the US lawmakers and federal agencies on India-specific issues in the preceding quarter, after seeking their support for about five years to facilitate its entry into Indian retail market.

However, such lobbying activities resumed during the last quarter — a period which also saw hectic parleys in India with regard to Walmart’s business activities in the country.

After months of discussions, Walmart earlier this month announced buyout of Bharti group’s 50 per cent stake in their wholesale retail business in India.

Walmart has also been requesting the Indian government to further relax norms for FDI in multi-brand retail business, where 51 per cent foreign equity was allowed last year despite opposition by various political parties.

Incidentally, a probe report on Walmart’s lobbying for entering India may soon be discussed by the Union Cabinet. The probe is said to have remained inconclusive as Walmart and others did not provide required information.

The Indian government had ordered the probe on Walmart’s lobbying late last year after a huge political outcry over the American retail giant having spent millions of dollars on its lobbying activities in the US for years on various issues, including on access to the Indian market and the relevant FDI

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