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U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Concludes Successful India High-Technology Trade Mission

Friday, February 11, 2011

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke concluded today his visit in Mumbai, the final stop of his three-city trade mission to India. Locke and a delegation of 24 U.S. businesses traveled to New Delhi, Bangalore, and Mumbai to promote their technologies and services related to civil nuclear energy, civil aviation, defense and homeland security, and information and communications technology to India.

This mission provided the U.S. delegation access to key Indian public and private sector decision-makers to explore opportunities to enter or expand their presence in this emerging market.

“This trade mission was a resounding success.  For some companies on our trip, ‘success’ was an initial meeting or consultation with Indian government or business leaders that will lead to deals down the road,” Locke said.  “For others, success was more immediate with some companies leaving India on the cusp of making multimillion dollar sales.  Either way, these companies have made important inroads into one of the most promising high-technology markets in the world.”

Friday morning, Secretary Locke met with the executive committee of the U.S- India Importers’ Council, an initiative developed to support Indian companies that import goods and services from the United States.  The mission of this Council is to advance President Obama’s National Export Initiative, and to support the efforts of Indian companies that import products from the U.S.

Locke then visited Mumbai’s legendary Dabbawala Association organization to learn about their unique logistics operation that delivers home cooked food to hundreds of thousands of people daily.  Association president Raghunath Medge provided Locke with an overview of the organization’s labeling and sorting methodology and the dispatch process. Dabbawala’s lunch delivery service has been cited as a model of entrepreneurship and supply chain management at the grass-roots level.

In the afternoon, Locke engaged in bilateral meetings at Reserve Bank of India with Governor Dr. D. Subbarao and other Indian officials.

Locke also met with Dr. Srikumar Banerjee, Secretary of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), and Dr. S.K. Jain, Chairman of and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL), to discuss U.S.-India civil nuclear cooperation.  Locke, who was joined in the meeting by the U.S. civil nuclear companies traveling with the trade mission, emphasized the need to move forward with the next phase of civil nuclear cooperation and resolve outstanding liability and licensing issues expeditiously.    

"The U.S. is committed to greater bilateral commercial collaboration and developing a strategic partnership with India, as evidenced by the steps we’ve take to expand defense and high-technology trade and implementing the export control reforms President Obama announced in November," Secretary Locke said. “In my conversations with Indian government officials and economic leaders, I repeatedly stressed how the continued market openings the U.S. sought in India would ultimately bring tremendous benefits to both countries.”

During the six-day mission, Locke met with India’s Minister of Commerce Anand Sharma, Minister of Finance Pranab Mukherjee, Minister of Defence M.K Anthony, and Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, among other high-level government officials. Locke stressed the importance of the U.S.-India economic relationship and discussed avenues for enhancing this critical partnership, and raised longstanding and emerging issues – including market access barriers and intellectually property protection – facing U.S. companies in the Indian market.

Locke highlighted the importance of the aerospace sector to the U.S.-India trade relationship at Aero India 2011, India’s largest aerospace trade event.  He also met with high-level CEOs,  including Ratan N. Tata, Chairman of Tata Group and Mukesh Ambani,Chairman of Reliance Industries LTD.

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 to more than $16.4 billion.  Through the first eleven months of 2010, U.S. merchandise exports to India totaled $17.6 billion, 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 the Obama Administration’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports in five years.