Obama armed with $10 bn Indo-US deals and 54,000 American jobs

Saturday, November 6, 2010

MUMBAI - US President Barack Obama was Saturday set to unveil a more dynamic business relation with India with commercial deals worth over $10 billion that will also address his domestic constituency by supporting 54,000 jobs in the US.

The deals include the purchase of as many as 33 Boeing-737 aircraft by the Indian budget carrier SpiceJet and an order on General Electric to supply 414 engines to power India’s indigenous light combat aircraft, knowledgable sources here said.

Ahead of the US president’s address to a large gathering of some 400 business leaders of the two sides at the Oberoi Trident Hotel here, knowledgeable sources said the US side will was also set to ease export control norms on some Indian defence firms.

“Removing these entities from the list will allow for greater trade and cooperation in civilian space and defence and enable our governments to focus on the other outstanding barriers,” US Deputy National Security Adviser Michael Froman was quoted as saying.

These entities could include the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and guided weapons maker Bharat Dynamics, all of which are state-run agencies, officials said ahead of the business meeting.

Among the corporate leaders invited for the event included Honeywell’s David Cote who co-chairs the India-US CEO Forum with Tata Sons chairman Ratan Tata, PepsiCo chairperson Indra Nooyi, Boeing Co’s Jim McNerney and General Electric Co’s Jeffrey Immelt.

The event was organised by the United States-India Business Council (USIBC), whose chairman Terry McGraw, also the chief executive of Mcgraw Hill Companies, which owns rating agency Standard and Poor’s, is also a part of the business delegation.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the US Department of Commerce were the co-hosts of the event, also attended by over 200 business leaders from the US.

Trade between the US and India more than doubled to $37 billion in 2009 compared with 2003, according to data available with the US Commerce Department, which has been worried over the trade imbalance skewed in favour of India.

In the first eight months of 2010, total trade topped $32 billion, with imports by India up 20 percent and exports higher by 40 percent. The two sides feel bilateral trade can top $50 billion in the next couple of years.

Filed under: Economy

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