RIL halts US lobbying for 3rd straight quarter
Washington: India's leading corporate house Reliance Industries has kept its lobbying activities among the US lawmakers on hold for third quarter in a row, after having spent over one million dollars to its lobbyist here in past few years.
On the other hand, the Indian government and the country's software industry body Nasscom have kept up the momentum through their lobbying activities and paid USD 180,000 and USD 100,000, respectively, to their lobbyists during the last quarter ended June 30, 2012.
While Nasscom (National Association of Software and Services Companies) has paid its two lobbyists, BGR and the Lande Group, for lobbying on issues like international technology, immigration, high-skilled visa, workforce and personnel mobility, the Indian government's lobbying activities were centered on "bilateral US-India relationship".
As per the quarterly lobbying disclosure reports filed with the US Senate, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has been one of the major Indian entities lobbying for its cause among the US lawmakers for past few years.
However, its lobbyist BGR (Barbour Griffith & Rogers LLC) has reported "no activity" on behalf of RIL for the last three quarters, including in the latest one ended June 30, 2012. BGR remains registered as a lobbyist for RIL in the US.
In the recent past, RIL has expanded its presence in the US and other foreign countries, while the US government's policies are said to have significant implications for most of the large corporations across the world.
Incidentally, BGR also happens to be the lobbyist for Nasscom and the Indian government. Nasscom is currently lobbying in the US through one more lobbyist, the Lande Group.
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.
BGR began lobbying for RIL in January 2009 and has been paid an estimated USD 1.18 million by the Indian company since then. On RIL's behalf, BGR has lobbied with the US Senate, House of Representatives, Department of State and the US Government Accountability Office, among others.
For Indian government, BGR is now lobbying in the area of bilateral relationship between the two countries, while its lobbying issues in the past have included the US-India civil nuclear deal.
During the last quarter, the Indian government paid BGR a total of USD 180,000, while a similar amount was paid in the first quarter of 2012 as well. Prior to this, Indian government had spent USD 720,000 during 2011, while it has paid its lobbyist a total of close to USD 4.5 million since it began lobbying in the US in September 2005.
On behalf of the Indian government, BGR has lobbied at the US Senate, House of Representatives, US Trade Representative (USTR), Department of State and Department of Commerce.
In case of Nasscom, its main lobbying areas now include visa and employee immigration issues of various Indian IT companies, which have a significant market in the US.
For the quarter ended June 30, 2012, Nasscom paid USD 70,000 to BGR, while its other lobby firm Lande Group got USD 30,000 for this period. In the previous quarter, BGR and Lande Group had got USD 80,000 and USD 25,000, respectively.
Nasscom has been lobbying in the US for about ten years and figures among the Indian entities having indulged in such activities for the longest so far.
Its lobbying bill in 2012 has crossed USD 200,000 level, while its overall lobbying expenses since 2003 exceed USD 4 million.
Other Indian entities having indulged in lobbying activities in the US in the past include industry bodies like the Carpet Export Promotion Council, the Gem 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.