Indo-US bilateral trade currently stands at around $107 billion and both President Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have targeted to take it to $500 billion.
Attracting Indian firms is high on the agenda for officials in the US who feel that the time is ripe for many Indian companies to spread their wings and “move out of the borders.” Right from President Barack Obama’s pet SelectUSA event to the number one FDI destination in US, South Carolina to Fairfax County, one of the richest counties in the US, everyone seems focussed on attracting Indian companies to their shores.
The third edition of the SelectUSA summit scheduled to be held in June 20-21 is expected to see a large contingent of investors from India. “We have done two Select USA summits so far; one in the fall of 2013 and the other in spring of 2015.
Of the 1,300 investors in the second summit, 83 were Indian delegates. We are expecting another robust delegation this time…. About 57 investors have already signed up,” said Vinai Thummalapally, executive director, SelectUSA. Indo-US bilateral trade currently stands at around $107 billion and both President Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have targeted to take it to $500 billion.
“US investment in India is approximately 2.6 times the amount of Indian investment in the US… In order to increase the level of engagement, we opened a platform called a strategic and commercial dialogue. The inaugural meeting was held in Delhi and the next meeting is scheduled in August,” he said.
South Carolina is also planning to send a trade mission to India in November 2016 that will visit a number of cities including Chennai, Mumbai and Gujarat during this period, official sources said.
“We saw the economy of India is now ready to move outside of its borders… We have been able to bring six Indian companies and we see that as a small beginning of a long and harmonious relationship with India. So we will be back in India this year with a working team,” said Robert M Hitt, commerce secretary, South Carolina department of commerce.
“We will be visiting India in the second or third week of November. We will be starting from Chennai and ending in Mumbai. We will be travelling to 3-4 cities including those in Gujarat…. This is not only to attract FDI, but we are also talking companies from South Carolina to India to sell their products,” said Ford Graham, director of international strategy and trade, department of commerce, South Carolina.
The Fairfax County in Virginia is also scouting for Indian firms especially in the IT sector. “We currently have about 36 firms from India who employ about 800 people. We are not only looking to attract Indian firms but also well-educated talent from India,” said Gerald Gordon, CEO of Fairfax County economic development authority.
(The writer is in Washington DC on an invitation from the US government)