India’s ‘bold’ retail opening will reduce prices: US body

Washington : A major US trade association has hailed Indian cabinet’s “bold” move to approve opening of India’s vast multi-brand retail sector to foreign direct investment and expanding FDI into single-brand retail, saying it tamp down rising food prices and inflation.

“These bold reforms have heartened investors from the United States and elsewhere,” said the US-India Business Council (USIBC), comprising nearly 400 of America’s and India’s top companies seeking deeper commercial ties between the two countries.

“The government’s opening of the multi-brand retail sector will benefit Indian consumers by bringing efficiencies and productivity to the farm-to-fork supply chain, while tamping down rising food prices and inflation,” the advocacy group said.

The overall effect of these actions will accelerate India towards becoming the world’s third-largest economy, which had earlier been predicted to occur by mid-century, it said.

The government’s bold resolve to move on these complex reforms serves as an assurance to investors that its economic liberalization agenda begun in the early 1990s is very much on track, even in the face of the global economic downturn, USIBC said.

“The singular act of opening the multi-brand retail sector to foreign direct investment will significantly benefit the Indian consumer by spurring the modernisation of India’s vast agri-retail marketplace,” said Ron Somers, President of USIBC.

“This change in policy is a good start to a win-win decision for all stakeholders, including the customers, farmers and the Government of India,” said Doug McMillon President and CEO of Walmart International.

“We’re confident that the government, after seeing the value we bring to India and its people, will view this opening as a first step in further liberalising FDI in retail,” he added.

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