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.
As per the lobbying disclosure reports filed by Wal-Mart with the US Senate, the company has spent close to USD 25 million since 2008 on its various lobbying activities, including on the issues related to “enhanced market access for investment in India”.
In the last quarter ended September 30, 2012 itself, the company spent USD 1.65 million 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, as per 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 USD three million or about Rs. 18 crore on its various lobbying activities, including those related to India.
As per Wal-Mart’s lobbying disclosure reports, the company has continuously lobbied for its India entry since 2008, except for a few quarters in 2009.
Indian government recently opened up its multi-brand retail sector for foreign companies after years of political opposition and a Parliament motion against this decision was defeated last week in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
The US-based supermarket chain operator Wal-Mart Stores, which has an annual turnover of USD 444 billion and a world- wide 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 USD 500 billion currently and is pegged to cross USD one trillion mark by 2020, given the rising personal income and growing consumer spending trends.
According to a report by global consultancy major A T Kearney, the organised retail is expected to reach 25 per cent 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 per cent is expected over the next five years.