Hello bloggers, this is Poulomi Saha and I write for Ethical Corporation from Mumbai.
My post here is less a statement and more a question I’m thinking aloud and posing to readers and fellow Ethical Corp writers.
For the latest issue of the magazine, I did a story about Thai authorities under former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and the current military administration temporarily restricting supermarket growth due to complaints they were hurting small retailer businesses. Tesco was amongst those in the firing line.
While doing this story, I read of British prime minister hosting tea parties in London for his Indian counterpart Dr Manmohan Singh earlier this month. The occassion being mostly an Indo-UK investment summit, (India is the third largest foreign investor in the UK) there was talk of Blair doing everything in his power to convince Dr Singh into relaxing wholesale retail laws in India that currently deny foreign supermarkets access to the world’s fastest growing consumer retail markets. Tesco, fighting against the likes of Wal-Mart and Carrefour, of course stands to benefit most from such persuasion tactics.
Now, how can a prime minister promote his national corporate interests when one of his own national regulators, the Competition Commission is conducting an inquiry into alleged ‘bully behaviour’ (squeezing of suppliers, putting small retailers out of business, use of anti-competitive methods etc) by the country’s top 4 supermarkets – Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons? It is understandable when politicians ignore similar investigations in far-away countries like Thailand as matters that dont concern them and their promotional agendas. But what when such an enquiry in currently ongoing on your own grounds?
Ideally, shouldn’t Mr Blair put a moratorim on such promotion, at least by his own government-related agencies and departments, until the Competition Commission comes out with its report on the inquiry by next year-end? Of course, as well, as stopping himself!
Okay, this may be a naive question for some but then do care to enlighten me if you can! Maybe our politics editor, Peter, may have some thoughts on the strange workings of governments and politicians?!