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Remarks at U.S.-India Aviation Partnership Summit


Tuesday, December 8, 2009



Deputy Secretary of Commerce Dennis F. Hightower
Remarks at U.S.-India Aviation Partnership Summit
Washington, D.C.

Thank you and good morning everyone. I am delighted to be here. I want to thank our colleagues in the U.S. Trade and Development Agency for sponsoring this event.

I also want to extend a warm welcome to all of the business and government leaders here today.

This summit brings together executives from one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets—India—with representatives of the world’s largest aviation market—the United States.

The importance of this relationship is apparent from the impressive growth in sector trade between our countries.

Over the past 20 years, U.S. aerospace exports to India have grown by more than 1,200 percent. Over the same period, U.S. imports of aerospace goods from India have grown at an even faster rate.

Through September of this year, U.S. sales of aircraft and spacecraft products to India amounted to $1.9 billion, a 23 percent increase over the September 2008 total of $1.57 billion.

Given these numbers, I would say we are off to a really good start. But, we believe we could be doing more business together.

India’s civil aviation and civil aviation infrastructure procurements are expected to average $6 billion to $7 billion in 2010 and continue at that rate annually over the next five to 10 years.

Airlines in India plan to add more than 300 aircraft, roughly valued at $35 billion during that period.

One of the central premises of the U.S.-India Aviation Cooperation Program, in which the Commerce Department is proud to be a partner, is this: the U.S. and India are natural partners in civil aviation.

this summit is an opportunity to focus on how we can work together as India expands and modernizes its aviation sector.

With its rapidly growing aerospace market, India is a priority country for U.S. export promotion and business facilitation efforts.

It is particularly promising for U.S. suppliers seeking joint-venture opportunities. The evolution of the Indian aerospace industry is part of a broader trend toward supply chain consolidation.

Yash Kansal, with the Commerce Department’s Commercial Service in New Delhi, is here today. Yash, would you stand up please?

Yash plays a critical role in developing and implementing our strategy in India, and I know he will be telling you more about our services and plans later in the conference.

But, I would like to take just a few minutes here to highlight some of the current projects we are pursuing at the Commerce Department.

First, last month, the Department completed a successful aerospace trade mission to several major centers for Indian aerospace trade.

The mission, which focused on U.S.-Indian trade and investment opportunities for small and medium enterprises, included stops in New Delhi, Bangalore, and Hyderabad.

During the mission, we had an excellent series of meetings with Indian companies—potential strategic business partners and end users for U.S. products and services—that we believe will lay the groundwork for enhanced commercial cooperation between our two countries.

Trade missions like this reinforce our view that the United States is a natural partner for India in mutually beneficial aviation and aerospace trade and sector modernization.

Second, next March Commerce will participate in the 2010 India Aviation International Exhibition and Conference on Civil Aviation (India Aviation 2010).

The United States is the official “partner country” for India Aviation 2010, and the event is one of India’s largest and most widely attended civil aviation conferences.

Our Washington based Commerce staff is actively working with Commercial Service colleagues in New Delhi to craft a comprehensive program that promotes U.S. competitiveness, including industry outreach, roundtable discussions and U.S.-Indian bilateral consultations.

Third, at the same time, the Department has proposed the creation of a civil aviation committee to the U.S.-India High Technology Cooperation Group. This committee would specifically address civil aviation trade policy issues. We are looking forward to opening that dialogue early in 2010.

We are very pleased to have two American firms, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, competing for the Indian Air force’s Medium Multi-Role Combat tender.

The selection of an American firm will give India an aircraft that provides the best value, reliability and technological superiority.

It will also give India a long term strategic partner as we move forward in enhancing and strengthening our commercial relationship.

One defining success of our bilateral aviation and economic relationship has been the Open Skies Air Services Agreement we achieved together in 2005.

The agreement enabled our airlines to launch non-stop services between our countries; increased shipping options for our businesses; and provided for the commercial arrangements now in place between U.S. and Indian air carriers.

In addition, we continue to pursue close economic relations through other avenues including my meeting with Indian minister of commerce and industry Anand Sharma in October, the recent launch of a new U.S.-India CEO forum, and through our robust engagement under the U.S.-India commercial dialogue.

I will close with this: I have no doubt that the partnership between our countries will continue to grow, and that this summit will provide momentum to the strategic and commercial relationship between the Indian and U.S. aviation sectors for many years to come.

Thank you for your continued commitment to strengthening the U.S.-Indian civil aviation relationship. And best wishes to all for a most productive and fruitful summit.

Thank you.