Amazon steps up US lobbying for Indian FDI; Walmart on halt

After supermarket giant Walmart, it is online retail major Amazon which appears to be lobbying hard with the US lawmakers to seek their support for facilitating its "foreign direct investment in India".

According to the latest lobbying disclosure reports filed with the US Senate, Amazon lobbied for the second straight quarter during January-March period of 2014 on issues related to FDI rules in India.

On the other hand, Walmart has halted its India-specific lobbying for the second consecutive quarter during the same period, although it continues to lobby on issues related to "Walmart operations in international markets".

According to the Amazon's lobbying disclosure report for the first quarter of 2014, matters related to "foreign direct investment in India" figure among numerous specific lobbying issues discussed by Amazon Corporate LLC and its registered lobbyists with the US lawmakers.

Amazon, which is aggressively expanding its presence in the Indian online retail market, lobbied on issues related to Indian FDI during the October-December quarter of 2013 also, shows the Congressional records of lobby disclosure reports.

The other matters on which Amazon lobbied during the last quarter include issues related to mobile payments, unmanned aerial vehicles, free trade agreements, high-skilled immigration, online wine sales, taxes and cyber security.

Amazon is discussing issues related to Indian FDI, among other matters, with the members of the US Senate, the US Trade Representative, the Department of Commerce, the Department of State and the US House of Representatives.

According to the lobby disclosure reports filed with the US Senate, Amazon.Com and its group entities including Amazon Corporate LLC have been lobbying on various issues since 2000, but it was only in the quarter ended December 31, 2013, when its lobbying issues included "foreign direct investment in India".

Earlier, Walmart had been lobbying very hard among the US lawmakers for their support on its FDI plans for India. However, a number of roadblocks including probes ordered by the Indian government seem to have tempered its ambitions for India, which has been projected as one of the biggest growth markets for the retail sector across the world.

As per Walmart's latest disclosure, it spent close to USD 1.84 million on its overall lobbying activities in the US during January-March 2014 quarter, but there is no India-specific matters listed among the "specific lobbying issues" disclosed in this 18-page quarterly report.

While India did not find a mention in the previous quarter (October-December 2013) lobbying disclosure report as well, "discussions regarding Foreign Direct Investment in India" used to be one of the 'specific lobbying issues' quite often in Walmart's earlier quarterly lobbying reports.

In its latest quarterly disclosure, Walmart has however listed "discussions regarding Walmart operations in international markets" as one of the nearly 45 specific issues that Walmart and its lobbyists discussed with the lawmakers and the government departments in the US during January-March period this year.

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