Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma has deferred his meeting with Walmart Asia chief Scott Price scheduled for Friday.
When contacted, Sharma said, “We always welcome foreign direct investment in the country. We welcome all foreign investors. The meeting was deferred and would be fixed on an appropriate date.”
Price had sought an appointment with Sharma shortly after the US retail giant snapped ties with Bharti Enterprise.
The cancellation is seen as a move to snub Walmart after Price said that the FDI (in multi-brand retail sector in India) “has passed”, while calling off its six-year joint venture with Bharti on October 9, terming it as ‘not tenable’.
However, the minister’s office claimed, “There are scheduling issues following which Walmart was informed on Tuesday that the meeting would be possible only after Diwali. A new date would be provided at the convenience of both the sides.”
Walmart and Bharti had entered into the JV in 2007 and had started their first wholesale store in Amritsar in 2009. After the government allowed 51 per cent FDI in the multi-brand retail sector, Walmart was being looked up as the first foreign retailer to enter the untapped retail sector in the country.