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Will invest more in India if FDI rules are relaxed: Walmart

PTI     September 28, 2011
The world's largest retailer Walmart on Wednesday said its investments in India will grow manifold if foreign direct investment (FDI) regulations on multi-brand retail are relaxed in the country.

Walmart said it will ramp up its investment here to strengthen supply chains and enhance direct linkages with farmers in order to provide "quality products at affordable" prices to Indian consumers.

"There would be manifold increase in investment by Walmart in India if FDI in multi-brand retail is opened up," Walmart India President Raj Jain told reporters on the sidelines of a CII event in the national capital.

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Walmart currently has nine cash-and-carry stores in India through a joint-venture with Bharti Enterprises.

"Investment in India is not a problem, policy (FDI regulations) is a problem," Jain said.

At present, India does not allow FDI in multi-brand retail, which has restricted international players to the wholesale cash-and-carry business.

In the wholesale business, 100 per cent FDI is allowed, whereas in single brand retail, 51 per cent overseas investment is permitted.

While a committee of secretaries has given a green signal to FDI in multi-brand retail, the move requires political approval. The government is still in the process of finding a political consensus on the issue.

Walmart currently works with a large number for farmers for direct sourcing of products.

"We already work with farmers in the North and will soon start that in South too... We are doing as much as we can, but our investments cannot be monetised on the back of wholesale alone," he said.

Through wholesale, the company anyway can not control the prices that end-consumers pay for the final products, he added.

Jain, however, did not share absolute numbers on the quantum of investment being made by the company in the country and the expected increase in case FDI is allowed in multi-brand retail in India going ahead.

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