Sitharaman to meet stakeholders on FDI in e-commerce

New Delhi, July 7 (IANS) With retail store operators going to court seeking parity between online and offline retailers, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will meet industry representatives from both e-commerce and retail companies on Friday to discuss opening up the e-commerce sector to foreign direct investment (FDI).

A source in the department of industrial policy and promotions told IANS here that both Indian and foreign e-commerce companies such as Flipkart, eBay, Snapdeal and Amazon are likely to attend the meeting.

Almost all stakeholders, including representatives of the Confederation of Indian Industries and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry have been invited to Friday’s meeting, the source said.

The commerce minister is also scheduled to meet chief ministers on the matter on July 15, the official added.

The Retailers Association of India (RAI) moved the Delhi high court in May seeking a level playing field between online and offline retailers. The association, representing large brick-and-mortar retail companies, had boycotted the consultations with the minister on the matter in May.

After the May meeting here, Sitharaman told reporters: “It was the first meeting. We are not taking any position this way or that way. We have heard everybody on whether they need or do not need FDI, and whether it will affect the level playing field.”

“I may have meetings with state governments also to understand their position because it is important for me to know the issue in each of these cases,” she said.

India currently allows 100 percent FDI in business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce, but not in B2C companies selling directly to consumers.

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