Confident things will work out in India says Walmart CEO Mike Duke

Dec 12 2012, 12:07 IST
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The govt had offered to hold an inquiry into allegations of payment made by Wal-Mart in India. (AP) The govt had offered to hold an inquiry into allegations of payment made by Wal-Mart in India. (AP)
SummaryThe govt had offered to hold an inquiry into allegations of payment made by Walmart in India.

WalMart Chief Executive Officer Mike Duke has said he will be "patient" and is confident that things will get worked out in India for the company, amid the political uproar in India over opening of the multi-brand retail sector as well as lobbying efforts by the retail giant.

"I still believe that in India things will get worked out. I am confident that (India) is a country that has such an opportunity to help both the farmers, those that are producing products for consumers all the way through the supply chain to the consumer," Duke said at a Council on Foreign Relations event organised here yesterday on 'The Responsibility to Lead'.

He was responding to a question on how India fits into the international priority markets for Wal-Mart given the country's mixed response to opening of its retail sector.

The Wal-Mart President said having travelled to India a number of times, he "really feels for the people of India because the people of India are missing on the opportunity right now because of the inefficiencies of the supply chain and so many of the challenges.

"But I am patient and I believe that overtime the process will get worked out in India. That we can help people live a better life in India also," he added.

Duke said in the next 10-50 years, the emerging middle class in countries like India, China and Latin America will be the "real opportunity for Wal-Mart from a business


"These big emerging markets where there are a lot of people, where there will be an emerging consumer over the next decade will be our greatest priority," he said.

The Indian government had yesterday offered to hold an inquiry into allegations of payment made by US retail giant Wal-Mart in India but it did not much ice with the Opposition which demanded a time-bound probe by either a Joint Parliamentary Committee or judiciary.

Wal-Mart takes up over 80 issues in 9 categories for lobbying


Global retail giant Wal-Mart over the past five years has taken up as many as 80 issues in nine different categories for lobbying before the US lawmakers, the company has disclosed in its quarterly report before the US House of Representatives and the Senate.

The quarterly lobbying disclosure report submitted by Wal Mart, like other US companies, reveal that the global retail giant has been lobbying on a variety of domestic and international issues, ranging from temporarily suspending duties on whistles, compasses, Christmas tree lamps, discussions regarding hunger, nutrition policy, organised retail crime act, or on China currency manipulation.

In all there are 80 issues in nine different categories, prominent among them include - trade (domestic/foreign), food industry, taxation, financial institutions, health issues, labor issues, ant trust and work place, pharmacy, transportation, immigration, consumer issues, safety, products; energy and nuclear; and homeland security, according to the quarterly report.

A spokesperson of the Wal-Mart refused to give details of the money spent on each of the specific issues, including the one on discussion related to FDI in India.

"I'll refer you back to our statement, we've nothing to further to share," the spokesperson said.

Both the US Government and Wal-Mart have insisted that it has done nothing wrong and has lobbied as per US laws.

And under US laws, the money estimated to be USD 25 million as disclosed by Wal Mart in its quarterly reports are the one which has been spent by it in the US.

Officials said any money spent by Wal-Mart in India to gain undue favor from the government or the officials would come under the foreign corrupt practices act and that would require a separate investigation.

The issues, which have been disclosed by the Wal-Mart in its quarterly reports before the US House of Representatives and the Senate, range from a host of foreign issues like FDI in India, to enhanced market access for investment in India and China.

It also included Pakistan and Afghanistan Reconstruction Opportunity Zones, Panama and Columbia Free Trade Agreements, Mexico Trucking dispute, Trans-Pacific Partnershipnegotiations, WTO negotiations, APEC Ministerial, conflict minerals in Congo and China currency issues.

Under US laws, companies, individuals and even foreign countries are allowed to lobby before the US Congress and various wings of the US Government -- the White House, State Department, Commerce Department, Department of Treasury, Department of Defense, US Trade Representatives to name a few.

But to do so, they are required to either hire the services of registered lobbyists or employ them, who then on behalf of the companies or entities go to the offices of

lawmakers, policymakers, meet either the Congressmen (in most cases it is their staff) or government officials with a set of presentations and policy papers reflecting their views.

These registered lobbyists or professional whose salaries most of the time run into five figures.

Under the strict US lobbying laws, it is mandatory for each company and lobbying firms to submit a full disclosure report every quarter and is a public document, as

part of the transparency of the US Government.

Violation of the complex and extensive lobbying regulations can lead to penalties and even jail.

Notably the disclosure reports only lists out the issues, but give no hint as to what stand did the Wal-Mart had on these specific issues or how much money was spent on

each one of them.

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