Tesco chief, Noel Tata to meet Anand Sharma over retail FDI

British retailer keen on entry into Indian multi-brand retail sector.

British retailer Tesco?s chief executive officer Phillip Clarke and Tata International managing director Noel Tata are scheduled to meet commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma later this week, official sources told The Indian Express.

The meeting is scheduled for May 10 where Tesco is expected to raise its concerns and seek clarifications over the foreign direct investment policy in the sector which was thrown open by the government last year to 51 per cent FDI, despite stiff political opposition.

The meeting assumes significance at a time when other retailers like Carrefour, Sainsbury?s, H&M and Walmart have expressed keen interest in setting up shops in the country though they remain apprehensive about the stability of the policy given the fact that the main opposition party BJP had earlier said that it could reverse the decision if it returned to power.

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Also Walmart?s entry into India has apparently been shelved for the time being in wake of the government?s probe into allegations of lobbying by the retailer to facilitate its entry into India.

Multinational retailers are also awaiting clarification on issues, including the definition of mandatory investment in back-end infrastructure and the items which are to be included while calculating it, and what would constitute 30 per cent mandatory sourcing among other things.

Tesco is one of the world?s largest retailers and employs over 5,20,000 people with over 6,700 stores in 12 markets, according to the company?s website. The company already has an arrangement with Tata Group?s Trent for a wholesale chain which sell groceries and other goods to small retailers and restaurant owners and supply Star Bazaar, Trent?s hypermarket format.

Earlier in January, Tesco chairman Richard Broadbent had met Sharma in Davos and the minister had offered all help, asking them to submit their queries to the department for industrial policy and promotion in writing.

?All the foreign investors will be provided hand-holding,? he had said.

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First published on: 09-05-2013 at 08:37 IST