US Commerce Secretary Locke in Mumbai

Thursday, February 10, 2011

MUMBAI - United States Commerce Secretary Gary Locke has arrived here on the final stop of his high-technology trade mission to India.

Locke is joined by a delegation of 24 U.S. businesses seeking to promote their technologies and services related to civil nuclear energy, civil aviation, defense and homeland security, and information and communications technology to India. Locke is the first cabinet secretary to travel to India after President Obama’s visit, a US Embassy release in New Delhi said.

At a speech he delivered to members of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) in Mumbai, Locke highlighted the U.S.-India commercial relationship and encouraged development of new business opportunities between the members of the delegation and their Indian counterparts. He also talked about the great progress India has made in opening its markets to U.S. companies but he noted that much more work needs to be done.

“If India continues its walk down ‘the path of reform,’ if it continues to become more open to the investments and the innovations of foreign companies - like the 24 companies I have with me this week - it will stand a much better chance of meeting the needs of its people and of helping to lead the global economy in the 21st century,” said Secretary Locke.

“We’ve made important progress this week, not just to lay the groundwork for more sales of U.S. goods in India, but to take another real step towards strengthening the bonds between the governments, the businesses and the people of India and the United States.”

While in Mumbai, Locke also met with Indian CEOs, including Chairman Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries, who are part of the U.S.-India CEO Forum as a follow up from their meeting during President Obama’s trip to India in November. Locke solicited the group’s goals for the 2011 forum and they discussed a wide range of critical issues, including clean energy, standards and education.

Later in the afternoon, Locke delivered the keynote address at the National Association of Software and Service Companies’ (NASSCOM) India Leadership Forum. The NASSCOM forum is one of the flagship events for the tech industry in India where business leaders from more than 20 countries participate to share their views and strategies, and discuss the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead in the tech sector.

The mission is the first Secretary-led business development mission to India since 1997. It advances President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI) which aims to double U.S. exports by 2015 supporting several million U.S. jobs.

The pace of trade between the United States and India is accelerating. Between 2002 and 2009, U.S. goods exports to India quadrupled, growing from 4.1 billion dollars to more than 16.4 billion dollars.

Through the first eleven months of 2010, U.S. merchandise exports to India totaled 17.6 billion dollars, up 17 percent from the same period in 2009.

With economic growth estimates at about 9.7 percent in 2010, India is a key market for achieving the Obama administration’s export goal.(ANI)

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