Update on U.S.-India Bilateral Ties, July 2017

It has been a productive and busy period for the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC). Building on Prime Minister Modi's visit to Washington, D.C., we look forward to actively working with our members, the U.S. government, the Government of India, and other stakeholders in the weeks ahead. 

From Prime Minister Modi's extremely successful first meeting with President Trump to Vice President Mike Pence headlining the U.S.-India Business Council's 42nd Annual Leadership Summit, the past few weeks have witnessed a continuation of bipartisan support for U.S.-India relations at the highest levels of the administration. During the visit, Prime Minister Modi met global business leaders. The meeting highlighted India's growing stature as a center for electronics manufacturing, a tourism hub, and the opportunities that digitization will bring across the country for businesses and citizens. 

Following the meeting between President Trump and Prime Minister Modi on June 27, the U.S.-India Joint Statement on Prosperity through Partnership highlighted the broad range of the bilateral cooperation by emphasizing:  (1) regional security; (2) U.S. support for India's membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group and India's permanent membership on a reformed U.N. Security Council;  (3) improving market access issues; (4) helping both India and the United States meet their energy needs and ensuring conclusion of the Civil Nuclear Deal. 

On June 27, 2017, Vice President Mike Pence, in his remarks at USIBC reiterated the administration's commitment to growing U.S.-India relations. The Vice President also complimented the work that is being done by Indian companies in the United States (such as Tata Consultancy Services and Spice Jet) to create jobs for Americans. 

As a follow-up to the high-level bilateral dialogue, USIBC hosted Deputy Assistant USTR Tanya Menchi in New Delhi on July 7 for readout of the Trump-Modi summit and a look-ahead to the Administration's plans on setting priorities for the trade agenda. USIBC members welcomed Ms. Menchi on her first trip to India and discussed a host of government of India regulations ranging from pharmaceuticals, aerospace and defense, technology, insurance, and logistics.

On July 21, USIBC also led a business delegation to Uttar Pradesh on growing U.S. investments in areas such as health, tourism, energy, design, manufacturing, education, and sanitation. The delegation met the newly elected Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, who expressed a keen desire to work with American industry. USIBC members that were a part of the delegation included Paypal, GE, Medtronic, Varian Medical System, and Walmart India. 

Left to right: Vice President Pence addresses USIBC's 42nd Leadership Summit; Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath addresses the USIBC business delegation on July 20, 2017

On the domestic front this month, India implemented the most sweeping tax reform to date, the Goods and Services Tax (GST). The Council is closely watching the implementation of GST and working with members to identify concerns and issues as part of USIBC's ongoing effort to ensure that GST implementation occurs in a clear and competitive manner for all stakeholders. USIBC hosted along with the Department of Commerce and the Government of India a webinar on recent developments in GST.  Diane Farrell, DAS, began with comments highlighting the historic nature of GST for the Indian economy and its deep impact on both domestic and foreign companies operating in the Indian markets.  She noted the U.S. support for the effort and the belief that GST will help ease business in India and attract additional foreign investment. Mr. Rajiv Agarwal and Neeraj Prasad from the Government of India spoke on the implementation of GST, which began on July 1, and the different tax schedules for the various sectors covered under the new law.  They emphasized while the implementation phase had begun successfully, they will continue monitoring the system and stakeholder experience closely to ensure accuracy and ease of use. 

We have an exciting line-up of programs in the weeks ahead:

  • July 28, 2017, Washington, D.C. - USIBC and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's International Affairs Division will host a lunch discussion with United States Navy Pacific Command Admiral Harry B. Harris on "Deterring Revisionist Powers".
  • August 2017, New Delhi - USIBC will host a member briefing for Ambassador Alice Wells, Assistant Secretary for South and Central Affairs at the State Department. A briefing will subsequently take place in Washington, D.C. as well.
  • August 23, 2017, Washington, D.C. -  USIBC will host a meeting with USTR to set the priorities for the upcoming U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum and discuss USTR's plan to perform a comprehensive review of the U.S.-India bilateral trade relationship, which will take place during the next Trade Policy Forum.  
  • September 13-15, 2017, New Delhi - USIBC will lead a Food and Agriculture trade mission to India. 

Also, please note some of the key events that are coming up later in the year. 

  • November 13-14, 2017, Hyderabad - Global Entrepreneurship Summit
  • November 16-17, 2017, New Delhi - USIBC's First Annual India Summit
  • Date TBD, San Francisco, CA - U.S.-India-Israel Trilateral Forum
Khush Choksy, Acting President, U.S.-India Business Council