Lawmakers Ask President to Talk E-Commerce with Indian PM

Jan. 26, 2015

Lawmakers Ask President to Talk E-Commerce with Indian PM Ahead of a presidential trip to India, two U.S. senators have asked President Obama to discuss loosening up foreign direct investment restrictions on e-commerce in India with the country’s prime minister. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), who will accompany the president on his trip, and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), co-chairs of the bipartisan Senate India Caucus, asked the president in a recent letter to make opening India’s e-commerce market to foreign direct investment a high priority during the diplomatic mission by directly appealing to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“We believe [liberalizing FDI rules] would benefit the Indian and U.S. economies, as well as helping the nearly 400 million Indians that live below the poverty line with access to cheaper goods and job opportunities,” Cornyn and Warner said in their letter. “In India, online generation of additional retail transactions would increase consumption, decrease consumer prices, improve market access for small- and medium-sized companies, and create jobs across a range of professional fields.”

India currently prohibits foreign e-commerce merchants from selling directly to Indian consumers without going through an Indian partner. China, which has a similar policy, recently announced it would allow FDI in Chinese e-commerce on a trial basis in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone.