Under Secretary of Commerce For International Trade Francisco SÁnchez
U.S.-India Business Council
"Addressing Challenges, Boosting Ties" Business Roundtable
Monday, June 13, 2011
As prepared for delivery
Thank you, Ron, for your kind introduction.
I’d like to thank our panelists for their insights. The breadth of the discussion is a testament to how multi-faceted the U.S.-India relationship has become – not just commercially, but strategically, as well.
President Obama, when he went to India last November, affirmed his belief that the U.S.-India relationship would “be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.” I believe that our commercial partnership can be similarly defining.
Significantly growing our trade and investment with India is a priority for the President, and it’s also a priority for me under the National Export Initiative. We are well on our way to doubling global U.S. exports in five years, and the 17 percent increase in U.S. exports to India in 2010 – and a further 15 percent increase in the first four months of 2011 – are crucial in helping us reach our goal.
While significant, these increases are measured against a base that I think is much lower than it should be. And I hope you agree with me.
Over the decade that recently ended, India rose from being our 31st-largest export market in 2000 to our 17th largest market in 2010, but it trails such countries as Australia, Taiwan, and Korea.
That’s why the administration is trying even harder to engage holistically with India’s Government and business community – in a variety of sectors, throughout the country at different levels of government, and with new private-sector partners.
We want to show that Indian and American companies – and our two countries – can all benefit from increased trade and investment.
Our recent and upcoming trade missions have brought U.S. companies to India to pursue opportunities in several priority sectors.
- Secretary Locke led a high technology trade mission in February, focusing on civil nuclear energy, civil aviation, defense and homeland security, and information and communications technology.
- Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services Nicole Lamb-Hale led Commerce’s first franchising mission to India in April
- We’ll send an education mission to India in October.
- And I will lead a clean technology mission to India in November.
With the growth of numerous urban centers throughout India, we know that commercial opportunities exist beyond the four metros. That’s why I launched our Growth in Emerging Metropolitan Sectors, or GEMS, initiative in Pune last September, and why I’ll be taking the clean tech mission to Ahmedabad.
But our expanded trade promotion activities by themselves will not be sufficient to increase trade and investment as much as U.S. and Indian companies would like. That’s why we combine promotion with policy, so that decision makers in Delhi and in the states can hear directly from entrepreneurs and exporters about how opportunities in India would be even more attractive with the right kinds of policies.
Next week, Assistant Secretary for Market Access and Compliance Michael Camuñez will be in India to discuss policy issues, including market access concerns in several services sectors.
Our speakers this afternoon already have alluded to the challenges that companies face in the Indian market. There are two areas of particular concern I would like to highlight:
- In services, U.S. companies face strong barriers, or even bans, in areas such as financial services, education, and legal services. While these barriers and bans hinder companies and firms and institutions in these fields from being as active in India as they would like, the effect is actually much broader and deeper: so many service sector activities comprise the virtual infrastructure that facilitates both the conduct of business and the expansion of the trained workforce that will enable the Indian economy to maintain its fast-paced growth.
- In manufacturing, we are troubled by a trend toward mandating local production in areas such as solar power plant equipment and IT and telecom hardware. We know that India wants to expand its manufacturing base, but we think that incentives, rather than mandates, would be more successful in attracting the manufacturing investment and technology that India seeks.
These are challenges that, with a lot of hard work, can be overcome. We want to work with India to expand commercial opportunities and make India the “best bet” for U.S. companies looking abroad to trade and invest. This is a win-win just waiting to blossom and, together, we can succeed.
The International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, manages this global trade site to provide access to ITA information on promoting trade and investment, strengthening the competitiveness of U.S. industry, and ensuring fair trade and compliance with trade laws and agreements. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein. This site contains PDF documents. A PDF reader is available from Adobe Systems Incorporated.