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Remarks to Rajasthan Industry Luncheon in Jaipur, India

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Commerce Secretary John Bryson
Remarks at Rajasthan Industry Luncheon in Jaipur, India

Thank you for your comments, Mr. Baid. And I want to thank Chairman Thadani for his welcome and for what he has done over the past two decades to bring the power of information technology to so many people.

Before I begin, I want to say that this is my first trade mission. I have been looking forward to it for some time. And it is truly a great honor to be the first U.S. Commerce Secretary to ever visit Jaipur.

My delegation is having a wonderful visit, starting with a warm welcome last night.  Then, this morning, we met with a number of government and business leaders and discussed ways that American businesses can help grow our commercial relationship.

And just now, I came from Jaipur Foot. What an amazing place. As you know, they have developed low-cost prosthetic limbs and innovative appliances that improve the quality of life for people in India and many other countries.

I am not surprised that they have attracted partnerships from America’s top universities. The global acclaim they have received for their humanitarian focus is well-deserved.

In addition, I understand that the COO of a company called Embrace is here today – Sajju Jain.  His business makes a high-tech sleeping bag that keeps babies warm – including premature infants. I heard that half of the components are manufactured in India – and the other half come from the U.S. What a great collaboration.

Every minute that I spend here in Jaipur, it becomes clearer and clearer why people with big ideas want to come here, live here, and build here.

Our delegation is here today because we know that the future of India does not lie solely in its four metros.

The facts are clear: In 20 years, 68 cities in India will have populations of over 1 million people. Total yearly income of urban households is expected to reach $4 trillion by 2030. I believe that if our businesses and governments work closely together, we can ensure that India will continue on a path toward inclusive growth – including areas and groups that may not have benefited from our partnership in the past.

President Obama has called the U.S.-India relationship one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.  I agree.  And today, we have reached a point where we must deepen and broaden that partnership to be more inclusive.

The fact is, the different people in each region of our respective countries have unique perspectives, unique needs, and unique plans to build their own prosperity.

For example, here in Jaipur, I know that there are more than 300 days of sunshine each year.  So you’re building solar plants to generate renewable energy.  Some businesses from the U.S. are partnering to help in that effort.

Also, nearly 40% of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor influence area lies in Rajasthan.  This region is developing several new industrial clusters and new cities for this major project – and I will be visiting Mahindra World City this afternoon.

On a broader level, it is exciting to see India’s trillion-dollar commitment to infrastructure over the next 5 years. This plan is both ambitious and admirable. As I understand it, the plan includes as many as 600 major projects – including a strong emphasis on public-private partnerships.

American businesses want to play a role in helping to turn this plan into a reality.

And all of these plans are important opportunities for the U.S. and India to strengthen and balance our trade and investment relationship, which has grown dramatically in recent years.

Already, as part of President Obama’s National Export Initiative, the Commerce Department launched the Growth in Emerging Metropolitan Sectors initiative – GEMS.

Through GEMS, we are looking at places like Jaipur which are poised to be the next great global cities.  And we are strongly encouraging businesses across the U.S. to consider the full spectrum of potential partnerships throughout India.

That’s why I’m pleased to be joined today by 16 leading U.S. companies that specialize in areas such as project management, engineering services, transportation, and energy.

Could the members of our trade mission raise their hands?

These businesses have deep experience playing significant roles to support the complex U.S. infrastructure.  They have found creative and innovative solutions to America’s challenges.

Today, they are ready to use that knowledge and to work with local businesses here to meet Rajasthan’s growing infrastructure needs.

Our businesses want to invest in the future of our relationship by helping to pave the roads, lay the rails, build the airports, and bring energy to more people.

Thank you in advance for providing them with that opportunity to partner with you.

While it is clear that we have great opportunities to strengthen our economic relationship, I would be remiss not to mention that barriers still exist.

I am continuing to meet with government officials this week to encourage more accountability and transparency in business transactions in order to help us grow together.

I have applauded advances such as integrity pacts among contractors, e-procurement systems, and India’s ratification of the U. N. Convention Against Corruption.

I am confident that we can overcome our differences and ensure a level playing field. And together, all of us at all levels of government in both countries can foster a business climate that works well for everyone.

In closing, what is absolutely clear to me – especially here in Jaipur – is that the U.S.-India relationship is being built one person at a time.

People in both of our countries need more opportunities – like this – to meet face-to-face and interact with one another.

I understand that Jaipur has long been a tourist hub due to its rich history and wonderful things to see.  I wish I had more time to enjoy them all myself, and I hope that even more Americans consider visiting places like Jaipur when they come to India.

Today, I want to invite all of you here – and all the people of Jaipur and Rajasthan – to visit the U.S.

Over 660,000 Indians visited America last year, an all-time record. We would love to see more.

And you don’t have to go to Washington to see America – just like Americans don’t have to go to Delhi to see India.

You can go to great cities like Chicago, you can experience the beauty of parks like Yellowstone, you can go to Disneyworld in Florida, or you can even go to Los Angeles, which is where I’m from.

Let’s get to know each other. Let’s foster that deeper level of understanding and cultural exchange.

After all, anyone who has ever been a CEO knows that business-to-business relationships are in fact built on people-to-people relationships.

That is why my delegation is here in Jaipur – and I thank you again for hosting us in your wonderful city.

Let’s continue to work together to ensure that the future of the U.S.-Rajasthan partnership will indeed be bright in the 21st century.

Thank you.