Indian traders protest foreign retail chains
India's biggest traders' association held a series of demonstrations
Tuesday against proposals to allow supermarket chains like Wal-Mart and
Tesco into the country's retail sector.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) organised protests in
several cities, including the capital New Delhi where about 150
shopkeepers voiced anger about proposed changes to foreign direct
investment regulations in India.
Multi-brand foreign groups such as US-based Wal-Mart currently
operate as wholesalers, but cannot sell directly to the public amid
fears that they could swamp small, traditional, family-run stores.
President of the Mercantile Association of Wholesale Textile Traders
Suresh Bindal led the demonstration in Delhi, telling AFP that "foreign
retail chains will turn us into their servants if we don't stop them".
"First the international companies will sell to consumers at a
cheaper rate, and crush small shopkeepers, then they raise prices. They
will turn independent traders into suppliers to multinational
companies," he added. India's tight foreign investment rules are aimed
at protecting small "mom-and-pop" stores in the retail sector. Fewer
than 10 percent of consumers in India shop in bigger, local department
Large foreign retailers have urged India to open the consumer market
to foreign chains as they seek to grow outside saturated Western