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Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal to meet UK firms like Tesco, Marks & Spencer for FDI boost

Economic Times:  September, 2016

New Delhi: Minister for Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal will be meeting heads of retail and food processing companies including Tesco, Sainsbury's, Harrods, Marks & Spencer and Cobra Beer starting Tuesday in the UK to attract foreign investment in the country.

Her ministry will also organise road shows in the UK for three days beginning Tuesday.

The aggressive move to showcase India's food retail sector is on account of a lack of interest shown by international companies to setup shop in India despite the country allowing 100% FDI in the segment.

According to the ministry, the value of processed food exports was $29.37 billion during 2015-16, equivalent to 11.21% of India's total shipments and 2.36% of total global exports.

Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal to meet UK firms like Tesco, Marks & Spencer for FDI boost

The minister is going to have oneon-one meetings with the chairmen and CEOs of these global companies, an official from the ministry of food processing said. Badal will also meet her counterparts in the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, he said.

In a bid to attract international players, the minister will highlight advantages of being in India through a presentation to the corporate honchos.

The roundtable closed-door interaction and one-on-one meetings with food processing companies and retailers are organised by the Indian High Commission and the Confederation of Indian Industry. CII National Food Processing Committee Chairman Piruz Khambatta and food processing ministry Special Secretary JP Meena are part of the delegation.

While the government has allowed 100% FDI in food retailing, it has dropped plans to include some general merchandise such as soaps and shampoos in the policy. This is one of the main points of complaint against the policy as food alone does not make it worthwhile for retailers to make huge investments.

General merchandise was not included in the policy despite suggestions from representatives of companies such as Walmart, Nestle, Heinz and others.

The FDI policy in food retailing was announced in June to encourage investments in brick and mortar retail and ecommerce. The new rules are applicable to packaged as well as locally sourced food.