Wal-Mart Stores President and CEO Michael T. Duke on Monday said he was hopeful about India opening up foreign direct investment (FDI) in the multi-brand retail sector and that the talks with the government so far had been positive.

“Wal-Mart has expressed that 100 per cent FDI would be the solution for all constituents and stakeholders (in the Indian retail sector),” Mr. Duke said in an interaction with journalists here. He, however, said Wal-Mart respected the India’s calibrated approach towards opening the retail sector to FDI.

India now allows 51 per cent FDI in single-brand retail, but none in multi-brand. Recently, the Centre had initiated a discussion on opening FDI in multi-brand retail.

Mr. Duke pointed out that opening of FDI would also help in increasing Wal-Mart’s sourcing of products from India by developing more vendors here. There was clearly more potential for increasing sourcing from India.

When asked how the world’s largest retailer’s relation with Bharti change if 100 per cent FDI is allowed in India, Mr. Duke said the two parties would take a collaborative approach in case of a policy change, which would be beneficial for both. Meanwhile, Mr. Duke also met Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma. After the meeting, Mr. Sharma told journalists that there was no demand from Wal-Mart’s head regarding any policy change in the FDI policy regime. “What I have mentioned (to Mr. Duke) is that as a democracy we believe in generating a discussion and consultation with all the stakeholders so that before taking any step, we create a broad-based consensus,” Mr. Sharma added.

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