New Business Center Opens Doors to India
Within the next 25 years, India will likely be the world’s third-largest economy. A new resource from the Department of Commerce can help U.S. exporters take advantage of opportunities in this growing market.
by Doug Barry
Doing business in India just got easier thanks to the new India Business Center launched recently by the Trade Information Center of the Department of Commerce. On June 12, 2008, Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez announced the new center at the U.S.–India Business Council Summit.
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U.S. companies’ interest in India is growing because of the country’s rapid economic growth and population of 1.3 billion. India’s gross domestic product is increasing between 8 and 9 percent per year, making it one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. In 2007, the United States exported goods to India worth $18 billion, up 75 percent over 2006.
The India Business Center will help U.S. companies take advantage of emerging market opportunities and the fast-growing purchasing power of India’s expanding middle class.
“U.S. businesspeople, especially from small and medium-sized enterprises, tell me that they’d do business in India if they just had more information,” said Israel Hernandez, assistant secretary of commerce for trade promotion and director-general of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service. “Now we have the information decision-makers need on key sectors, business culture, regulations, and much more.”
Market Information and Contacts
The Web portal for the India Business Center contains all the basics on exporting to India, including educational opportunities such as Webinars and seminars conducted by the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service and its partners. Companies can also find information on the leading sectors for U.S. exports, which include medical equipment, oil and gas field machinery, education services, computers and peripherals, pollution control equipment, telecommunications, and retail and franchising services.
Are you looking for opportunities to enter India’s market? The India Business Center’s Web site features a section devoted to upcoming trade missions organized for specific industries, such as environmental technology, or for multiple sectors. For example, the third clean-energy trade mission will take place in September 2008. Another mission in September, sponsored by the U.S.-India Business Council, will focus on agriculture, real estate, retail trade, and transportation supply chain opportunities. Coming up in November 2008 is a Department of Commerce–certified mission organized by FedEx for its customers.
The Web site also contains trade leads that are carefully vetted by the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service in India before being added to the system. The site can also be used as a gateway to locating resources in the business and government hubs of Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, and New Delhi. Market research on those cities and other regions is also available on the site’s searchable databases.
Opportunities and Challenges
India represents diverse and lucrative opportunities for U.S. exporters with the right products and services. English is the main language of business, and the legal system is based on English common law. But the country is full of micromarkets, supply chain challenges, and government regulatory hurdles.
“This is a vast megamarket that is changing rapidly,” counsels Dr. Abdul Shaikh, senior trade specialist with the India Business Center. “It’s important that U.S. companies do their homework and take advantage of U.S. government business assistance programs.”
Shaikh adds that India will be a land of opportunity for years to come. By 2035, the country is predicted to be the world’s third-largest economy after the United States and China. He also notes that there is a bottomless demand for investment, processed foods, alternative energy technology, and infrastructure that is either in need of upgrading or doesn’t exist yet. “This is a megamarket. We can’t ignore it, and we should embrace it.”
Doug Barry is an international trade specialist in the Department of Commerce’s Trade Information Center.
Accessing the India Business Center
U.S. companies can access the India Business Center at Export.gov at www.export.gov/india, e-mail an India business expert at the Trade Information Center at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1-800-USA-TRAD(E) (1-800-872-8723) for specialized counseling. The India Business Center provides business counseling on market-entry strategies, product placement and pricing, and assistance with documentation and compliance.