Tesco seeks clarity on India’s retail FDI norms

New Delhi, May 10 (IANS) Britain’s biggest retailer Tesco Friday said it is waiting for more clarity on India’s foreign direct investment (FDI) policy and would accordingly decide on opening stores in Asia’s third largest economy.

Tesco chief executive officer Philip Clarke along with Tata International managing director Noel Tata met Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma to seek clarity on various conditions imposed on the global supermarket chains to invest in India.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Clarke said: “I am pleased with the meeting. And we are assured. And I will need the important points of clarification, and then you would be hearing more from us.”

Clarke said the meeting with the minister was reassuring. “There will be important points of clarification in months ahead. And then you will hear more from us. We have got a lot of work to do now.”

“Thanks to the important conversation we have had today, now there will be few moments before you hear more from Trent and from Tesco,” he said.

Last September, India opened its $500 billion retail sector to foreign investors. Overseas investment of up to 51 percent is allowed in multi-brand retail, while in single brand retail there is no limit – up to 100 percent FDI is allowed.

However, a number of conditions have been put on global players if they want to invest in multi-brand retail. The conditions include commitment to invest at least $100 million upfront with 50 percent of it going into logistical infrastructure in the first three years and sourcing at least 30 percent of goods to be sold in their outlets from local small enterprises.

Anand Sharma said the government was ready to give clarifications to the global players like Tesco if required.

“You will find a welcoming environment when you come to invest in India. If any clarification is required, that will be given,” Sharma told Tesco and Tata International officials.

Tesco provides technical support and merchandises for Tata’s Star Bazaar hypermarket chains.

Noel Tata said he looked forward to interact with the minister again and push for the more clarity in the policy.

“The meeting was good. We came here for some clarifications on the policy and the minister is going to consider some of the concerns that we have raised,” Tata said.

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