India will be easing mandatory local sourcing norms for FDI in single brand retail trading in the next few weeks, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said. “India has opened up opportunities for single brand retail and is easing some detrimental clauses of the policy in next few weeks which will help single brand retail come in a bigger way to the country,” an official statement said quoting the minister. He was addressing CEOs of multi-national companies in the UK-India Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) meeting held on Monday in London.
The government in Budget proposed that local sourcing norms will be eased for FDI (foreign direct investment) in single brand retail sector. Currently 100 per cent FDI is permitted in the sector with certain conditions, including 30 per cent mandatory local sourcing preferably from MSMEs. The minister also requested companies around the world to respect Indian sensitivities on restrictions of foreign investment in multi-brand retail. “Particularly, e-commerce companies coming to India will have to ensure that they stay within the letter and spirit of the law when it comes to multi-brand retail and India’s policies around that,” he said.
He also said that manufacturing in India, in a cost-competitive environment, could be the key for British companies to expand their footprints to other parts of the world. “Designed in the UK – Made in India can be the new focus area for this partnership. Similarly, in the services sector, India can provide huge technical expertise to British companies,” the minister said.
Further he said if the spirit of research and innovation in British industry and academia is bound together with the strength of the skilled Indian work force, the two countries may become the preferred supplier for the rest of the world.
Both countries have agreed to set up three new bilateral working groups to tackle barriers in specific sectors including food and drink, healthcare and data services. India-UK trade and economic relations are reviewed annually by JETCO at the level of Commerce and Industry Minister. Till date, 12 meetings have taken place and the last was held in January 2018 in London.