All About Commerce: First U.S. Cabinet-Level Visit To India’s Modi Authorities

Secretary of State John Kerry has his hands greater than full in dealing with multiple crises in Ukraine and Gaza right now. However he and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker traveled to India final week ostensibly for the fifth version of the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue. Not much has modified within the strategic positions of each countries since the last such dialogue.

Secretary of State Kerry shakes arms with Indian Prime Minister Modi

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The 2 actual causes for the journey are to arrange for Narendra Modi’s first visit to Washington as India’s Prime Minister and to accelerate U.S.-India trade. So it was no shock that Secretary Kerry welcomed India’s just lately raised international-funding ceilings in several sectors of the Indian financial system, including defense, railways, e-commerce and insurance.

When President Obama launched his National Export Initiative with the purpose of doubling U.S. exports from $1 trillion, I made a prediction that U.S.-India trade would must more than double for this to work. True sufficient, the bilateral trade between the two international locations has increased from $20 billion to $96 billion in a decade. Last 12 months my firm lauded Vice President Joe Biden’s target of $500 billion in annual commerce with India over the subsequent five years. With the brand new enterprise-friendly government in New Delhi, evidently the Indian financial system might just have the ability to develop quickly enough to assist such a radical expansion of goods and services change between the world’s two largest democracies.

History of Success

Boeing exports C-17 navy transport aircraft and Dreamliner jets to India. General Electric sells giant turbines to assist generate electricity in Andhra Pradesh. The Walt Disney Company produces native and global films for Indian audiences. My own client, Paramount Farms, grows the wholesome pistachio nuts in the San Joaquin valley to fulfill the palates of middle-class Indians and provide a protected various to Iranian-grown products. In 2013 over 850,000 Indians visited the United States, and over 1 million Individuals visited India, the biggest group of foreign arrivals.

The Ford Motor Company is spending $1 billion to show its new auto plant in Gujarat right into a regional manufacturing and export hub, and both IBM and Hewlett Packard make use of more than 100,00 Indians every. American manufacturers loom massive in service businesses reminiscent of hospitality and fast food, with names comparable to KFC, Subway, Sheraton and Hyatt resorts being prized in India.

Team America

Team America in Delhi, with the presidential palace in background

Speaking about Hyatt brings us again to Commerce Secretary Penny Prizker. The fifty five-12 months-old billionaire and marketing campaign supporter of President Obama comes from the family that founded the well-known lodge chain and has 20 properties in India. This Harvard and Stanford graduate also built thriving companies in real estate and financial companies earlier than transferring on to public service last yr. Pritzker, not Kerry, may be an important American customer to the Modi authorities to this point.

Accompanying the Commerce Secretary to India had been two key Indian-American deputies:

– Assistant Secretary Arun Kumar, a former member of the board of the U.S. India Enterprise Council and a holder of an M.B.A. from the MIT Sloan School. Kumar now runs the U.S. Industrial Service, and his agency has seven posts in India — New Delhi, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai — which gives it the biggest footprint by workplace rely in any overseas location.
– Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally who leads SelectUSA, the first-ever U.S. authorities effort to promote, attract, retain, and broaden business investment to the United States.

Again in 1979 “Barry” Obama was a scholar at Occidental College, not removed from the place I now dwell. That’s when he found his liking for Indian food corresponding to dal, and perhaps his alleged fortunate charm of Hanuman, the Hindu demigod. But more importantly, he acquired an Indian-American friend and roommate who could be appointed U.S. Ambassador to Belize when Obama became president of the United States.

The same Obama pal is now back in India asking Indians to invest in America. SelectUSA and Yaduvendra Mathur, Managing Director of the Export-Import Bank of India, cemented a partnership on July 30. Each organizations will work collectively to assist Indian firms and entrepreneurs as they search to speculate and create jobs in the United States. This is not outlandish; Indian residents already account for 5 % of actual estate purchased in America, a few of it as a method to safe EB1 immigrant visas for his or her kin. Indian firms own the Pierre Hotel on Park Avenue in New York Metropolis, important chunks of the Marcellus oil shale deposits in Appalachia, and a good chunk of Steven Spielberg’s Dreamworks film studios in Hollywood and are investing billions to mine iron ore from the Mesabi Range in Minnesota.

Indicators of Progress

In Delhi, Pritzker said major areas the place American corporations might help are infrastructure, manufacturing and business funding. By infrastructure, she meant roads, power, ports, rail, airports, water and sewage, not just electric energy technology. India plans to spend over $1 trillion on improving its infrastructure and seeks not solely merchandise and know-how however American debt capital.

During discussions, India’s Minister of Petroleum and Pure Gasoline, Dharmendra Pradhan, highlighted the importance of a high degree of import dependence in crude oil by India and invited participation from U.S. oil and fuel firms in India’s exploration efforts and requested America to think about commencement of exports of American crude oil to India. The American facet also offered to assist in growth expertise for storage of crude oil in salt caverns.

Using American nuclear vitality technology from Westinghouse and presumably General Electric, there’s hope that India can be in a position to provide 10,000 megawatts of energy at Mithi Vardi in Gujarat within the west and Kowada in Andhra Pradesh within the south. India’s nuclear liability law has some clauses that have precipitated American and French firms to hesitate in shifting forward to address this big market alternative. America produces way more nuclear energy than some other country on the earth right this moment, and I am hopeful that this stalemate will get resolved in an inexpensive time.

India’s Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman apprised Secretary Pritzker of India’s administrative simplifications, government facilitation measures and manufacturing initiatives such as Special Financial Zones. Sitharaman also offered an summary of India’s plan for one hundred new smart cities to support its urbanization.

What’s Subsequent?

Secretary Kerry will get back to the present crises in Europe and the Center East, and I do not expect a lot progress on the political front in the speedy future. However the commercial discussions between Pritzker’s workforce and India’s minister and bureaucrats may yield fast and tangible progress by the point Narendra Modi units foot in Washington next month.

It may also help if a credible excessive-profile U.S. ambassador to India could be appointed very quickly. The quick tenures of Ambassadors Tim Roemer and Nancy Powell have created the sense that the Obama administration is probably not as serious about India as it claims to be. (Flubs like this one by Congressman Curt Clawson at the House Overseas Affairs Committee listening to on the Kerry-Pritzker visit do not help either.) President Kennedy sent John Galbraith, and Nixon sent Daniel Patrick Moynihan. These towering figures were loved by Indians; actually Galbraith was even awarded the Padma Vibhsuhana, India’s second-highest civilian commendation.

I’m hopeful that India will rise from being the U.S.’s 11th-largest trading companion to among the highest seven in the next decade. This requires each governments to work diligently to reduce real and hidden trade limitations and let corporations and entrepreneurs from every country work together and profit from their counterparts.

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