Washington: The US
on Tuesday pitched for India opening up its lucrative multi-brand retail for
foreign investors, an issue the UPA government had deferred for lack of
consensus among its coalition partners.
In her remarks at
the India-US Strategic Dialogue, secretary of state Hillary Clinton emphasised
the need for a hospitable bilateral investment environment.
“We look forward to
working to advance negotiations on the bilateral investment treaty, to further
reduce barriers to trade and investment in areas like multi-brand retail, and
to create hospitable environments for each of our companies to do business in the
other’s country,” she said.
government’s decision to allow 51% FDI in the sector has been put on hold due
to opposition from its allies including Trinamool Congress. The government has
already allowed 100% FDI in single-brand retail.
The Department of
Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has started wider consultations with
stakeholders, including farmers, consumers and the food processing industry on
the issue. India’s multi-brand retail segment, estimated at $600 billion, is
dominated by small kirana (mom & pop) shops. The Opposition fears that
allowing global retailers in multibrand retail would lead to job losses in
and France’s Carrefour are among the global retail giants that are keen on
entering the Indian market.
bilateral trade and investment may exceed $100 billion this year, Clinton said
that there is a lot of room for further growth. India and the United States,
she said, are committed to not only expanding their bilateral relationship but
also to furthering the work “we do regionally and globally”. PT