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Nirmala to hold e-commerce FDI policy meet today

The government will hold a meeting of all the stakeholders including industry chambers CII and Ficci on Thursday on foreign direct investment in e-commerce retailing. The meeting would be chaired by Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, an official said.

Major domestic e-commerce companies such as Flipkart and Snapdeal may also be present in the meeting. Besides, representatives from associations including Nasscom are expected to attend the meeting. At present, 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) is allowed only in business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce and not in <g data-gr-id="63">retail</g> segment.

Global retail giants like Amazon and domestic industry wants the government to relax the foreign investment norms in <g data-gr-id="68">e-commerce</g> space. Last month, Sitharaman in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha had said that there is no proposal under consideration to review the foreign direct investment policy on the e-commerce sector. Meanwhile, pressure is also mounting on India for relaxing foreign direct investment norms in the e-commerce sector at the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations. RCEP comprises 10 ASEAN nations and its six free trade agreement partners -- India, China, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand. These nations are negotiating a mega trade deal.

Japan, one of the key members of the RCEP, had floated a paper proposing relaxation in the FDI norms in the e-commerce sector. Japanese companies including Uniqlo have sought relaxations in the foreign investment norms in the sector. India is one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets in Asia-Pacific along with China. <g data-gr-id="67">Rise</g> in internet penetration, adoption of smartphones and lower data rates are completely changing the way India shops. As per estimates, the sector’s market size in the country is at around $5 billion annually. Analysts say online shopping space is expanding at a massive rate. 

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