Global retail giant WalMart, whose lobbying with US lawmakers for access to India has generated much political heat in New Delhi, has got company of at least 15 other large American companies and entities that have spent millions of dollars in 2012 itself to lobby for their Indian business interests along with other issues.
These include pharma giant Pfizer, computer makers Dell and HP, telecom players like Qualcomm and Alcatel-Lucent, financial services majors like Morgan Stanley and Prudential Financial, as also Alliance of Automobile Manufactures and the Aerospace Industries Association of America, as per the Congressional records of lobbying disclosure reports.
There are also lobby groups like Financial Executives International, Business Roundtable, Business Software Alliance and Financial Services Forum as well as consumer goods makers like Cargill Inc and Colgate Palmolive that have indulged in lobbying with US lawmakers so far in 2012.
Giants like Boeing, AT&T, Starbucks, Lockheed Martin, Eli Lilly and GE have also lobbied earlier with US lawmakers on "specific lobbying issues" related to India, which include discussions on market opening initiatives and support for their sales and business opportunities in the country.
As per the quarterly lobbying disclosure reports filed with the US Senate and the House of Representatives, at least three organisations — Financial Services Forum, Business Roundtable and Financial Executives International — have lobbied on issues related to taxation and other proposals of the Finance Bill presented in the Parliament early this year.
Besides, Qualcomm has lobbied on issues related to spectrum licenses, Alcatel-Lucent on preferential market access regulations and Pfizer on "issues related to a Supreme Court decision on generic medicine pricing" and certain patent cancellation matter in India.
One of the most active entities with India-related lobbying issues this year has been the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers with its opposition to the regulation of carbon dioxide emissions in the US until India along with China and Russia implement similar reductions.
Besides, insurance major Prudential Financial has been lobbying for "Indian financial market access and equity ownership issues". Like the government decision to open FDI in retail, a proposal to increase FDI cap in insurance sector is also being vehemently opposed by various political parties.
So far in 2012, Prudential Financial has spent more than $6 million on various lobbying issues in the US, including those related to India, while the lobbying bill for Morgan Stanley has crossed $ two million.
Among others, Business Roundtable has spent $6.6 million, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers about $8 million, Dell close to $2 million, HP about $1.5 million, Cargill $1 million and Aerospace Industries Association of America about $2 million.
The disclosure about Wal-Mart having spent $25 million on its lobbying activities in the US since 2008 on various issues including those related to opening of retail FDI in India generated a high-decibel political debate last week and the government finally agreed for an enquiry into the matter.
Lobbying is a legal activity in the US, but the lobby firms hired by the corporate entities need to make quarterly disclosures about their activities and payments. However, there are no specific regulations about lobbying in India.