Reliance terminates lobbying activities in US
Mukesh Ambani- led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has terminated all its lobbying activities among US lawmakers after having spent nearly 2 million dollars (over Rs 10 crore) to its lobbyist firm, Barbour Griffith & Rogers LLC (BGR), in the past 4 years. BGR has lobbied for RIL in the areas of ‘domestic and foreign trade’ and has provided "strategic counsel on issues related to trade”.
Lobbying in the government departments and other institutions is a legal activity in the US, but all the registered lobby firms are required to make a disclosure every quarter about the payments received by them, as also the details of their lobbying activities.
Lobbying activities stirred huge debate in India when US retail giant Walmart disclosed mammoth spending it did to make its entry in India easier.
However, not only companies but Indian Government and NASSCOM also spend on lobbying its interests with US lawmakers. The Indian government has paid its lobbyist BGR around $ 5 million (about Rs 25 crore) since it began lobbying in the US in September 2005.
BGR, on behalf of the Indian government, lobbied at the US Senate, House of Representatives, US Trade Representative (USTR), Department of State and Department of Commerce in the area of bilateral relationship b/w the two countries, while its lobbying issues in the past have included the US-India civil nuclear deal.
Several other Indian entities including Carpet Export Promotion Council, the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, CII, Forum of Pet Manufacturers, as also corporates like L&T, Sun Pharma, Wipro, Tatas, SAIL, Gujarat Flurochemicals, Flyington Freighters and Orchid Chemicals have indulged in lobbying activities in the US in the past.