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India Inc seeks FDI in multi-brand, flags FTAs
Jan '16
Industry bodies have asked the government to ease Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) norms, especially in sectors such as multi-brand retail, education and e-commerce where its stance has so far been ambivalent.

They also sought more liberalised norms for the insurance industry and allowing corporates in agriculture farming.

The demands and suggestions of industry chambers, including CII and FICCI came at a pre-Budget meeting with Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and officials in New Delhi on January 7.

India permits 51 per cent FDI in the multi-brand retail sector according to a policy that was brought in by the UPA government. The NDA government is opposed to allowing FDI in multi-brand retailing, but it has not yet scrapped the policy.

On greater liberalisation of FDI in retail, FICCI said: “Taking into account the sensitivities regarding protecting 'kiranas', the government could consider allowing 100 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail in non-food segment such as electronics and apparel. In food space, there is scope to allow 100 per cent FDI in fresh food product retail.”

India Inc. also raised concerns on what it called 'adverse' impact of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) on local manufacturing and demanded support to boost manufacturing, exports and startups. FTAs, they said, have led to import surges as a consequence of lower/nil duties. Indian industry and exporters have time and again said that these pacts have benefited the partner countries more. India has so far signed free trade pacts with Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the Asean bloc.

“We heard the industry's perspectives on what the Centre and the State governments can do to boost investment, manufacturing, exports and startups. They raised concerns on FTAs. We will look into the surge in imports and take measures to raise the competitiveness of the local industry,” Sitharaman told reporters after the meeting.

The minister sought inputs for negotiations of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and other FTAs.

Sitharaman allayed apprehensions about the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal and asked the industry for their feedback on export promotion measures taken by the government during the last one year. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk - India

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