Govt to clear IKEA proposal soon: Anand Sharma

The government will soon clear the proposal of Swedish home furnishing major IKEA, which has sought approval to invest Rs 10,500 crore to set up single- brand retail stores in the country.

"Few big proposals are in the pipeline, like IKEA. They will be approved. It is just a matter of days when the meeting will take place. They will all go through," Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said at the World Eoconomic Forum on India here.

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) is scrutinising IKEA's application and it will soon be taken up by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), which is meeting on November 20.

After FIPB's clearance, the proposal will have to be finally approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) as the board can clear investment applications worth up to Rs 1,200 crore only.

The IKEA Group, which manufactures and sells home and office furnishing products, proposes to invest in single-brand retail trading in India through a 100 per cent subsidiary and open 25 stores over a period of time.

This would be the largest investment in the single-brand retailing ever since the government has allowed foreign investment in this sector in January.

With the government relaxing the mandatory 30 per cent sourcing clause in September, IKEA which had earlier expressed concerns over the issues, had filled its final application earlier this month.

Recently, the FIPB had cleared foreign investment proposals of three single-brand retailers, including that of British footwear retailer Pavers England Ltd, to open fully owned stores.

It has also approved a 51 per cent joint venture of American luxury clothing retailer Brooks Brothers and Italian jewellery maker Damiani's plan to form a venture with Mehta's Pvt Ltd.

Sharma further said now that the government has allowed FDI in multi-brand retail, global retailers which were present in the wholesale stores should look at opening retail stores in the country.

"Reform is a gradual process, we have taken several steps. We have allowed FDI in civil aviation and power exchange. Now there are huge opportunities which foreign companies should avail," he said.

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