Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Monday said India was ‘seriously considering' to hike the 51 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) cap in single brand retail that would allow global retail giants to set shop in the country.

“We have 51 per cent (FDI cap) in single brand retail and we are seriously considering how to raise it to a higher level,” Mr. Sharma said at a meeting of the India-Italy Business Forum, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

Notably, several Italy-based global fashion labels are seeking hike in FDI so that they could invest more in India to tap the growing market.

At present, these global fashion brands need a domestic joint venture partner to set up units, which has proved to be a dampener for the international firms, which are mostly from the U.S. and Europe.

Pointing out that there are huge opportunities available for businessmen of India and Italy to strengthen their engagement and cooperation, Mr. Sharma said textile, fashion designing and leather were areas where both countries could step up cooperation. Italian businessmen could also explore the infrastructure sector, which needed $1 trillion between 2012 and 2017, he added.

Italian Economic Development Minister Paolo Romani also underlined the need for increasing bilateral trade and focus on sectors such as automobile, infrastructure, renewable energy, defence and services.

Flexibility restored

Meanwhile, the Commerce and Industry Ministry restored the flexibility in the month-old FDI policy where an overseas entity investing in India through an equity route can be given a right to treat this investment as debt.

More In: Industry | Business