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Economy Dec 10, 2012

Did Wal-Mart spend Rs 125 cr on lobbying for India entry?

Global retail giant Wal-Mart - waiting for years to open its supermarkets in India - has been lobbying with the US lawmakers since 2008 to facilitate its entry into the highly lucrative Indian market.

According to lobbying disclosure reports filed by Wal-Mart with the US Senate, the company has spent close to $25 million (about Rs 125 crore) since 2008 on its various lobbying activities, including on the issues related to "enhanced market access for investment in India".

Reuters

In the last quarter ended September 30, 2012 itself, the company spent $1.65 million (about Rs 10 crore) on various lobbying issues, which included "discussions related to FDI in India".

During the quarter, Wal-Mart lobbied for its case with the US Senate, the US House of Representatives, the US Trade Representative (USTR) and the US Department of State, according to its latest quarterly disclosure report. The companies are allowed to lobby for their cases in various departments and agencies in the US, but they are required to file their lobbying disclosure reports every quarter with the US Senate.

So far in 2012, Wal-Mart has spent more than $3 million or about Rs 18 crore on its various lobbying activities, including those related to India.

The US-based supermarket chain operator Wal-Mart Stores, which has an annual turnover of $444 billion and a worldwide headcount of 2.2 million, has been eyeing for a long time to enter India.

The Indian retail market is estimated to be worth about $500 billion currently and is pegged to cross $1 trillion mark by 2020, given the rising personal income and growing consumer spending trends.

According to a report by global consultancy major AT Kearney, the organised retail is expected to reach 25 percent of the overall market by 2020.

The report also said that India remains one of the most favourable destinations for international retailers and an accelerated retail growth of 15-20 percent is expected over the next five years.

PTI

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