U.S.-India Business Council welcomes Ambassador S. Jaishankar to Washington, DC
Immigration, FDI caps, tax, IP, manufacturing, main topics of discussion
January 29, 2014 – Washington, DC– The new Ambassador of India to the United States Dr. S. Jaishankar today met with a group of 90 industry executives and businessmen from the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) for a discussion about investment opportunities in India. The meeting was followed by a welcome reception of over 200 USIBC member companies, representatives of the United States government, think tanks, and friends of India. After being introduced by USIBC Board Member Rajesh Subramaniam, Executive Vice President, FedEx Services, Ambassador Jaishankar offered his first public remarks since assuming his responsibilities in December 2013.
Ambassador Jaishankar engaged with USIBC on important topics that have dominated the bilateral commercial relationship in recent months – namely, tax treatment of investments in India and the protection of intellectual property (IP). Ambassador Jaishankar made clear that he wants to have an open and candid discussion on the subject of IP. USIBC members expressed their enthusiasm to engage in that conversation.
Industry captains also discussed the need for improvements to infrastructure and increased investment in defense and energy. The executives advocated for the lifting of FDI caps in important sectors like insurance and defense, and for adjustment of the retail policy to attract major investment and organized players into India.
The group raised the need to work together towards a step-by-step immigration reform bill in the U.S. Congress that allows choice, promotes American competitiveness, and enhances free market opportunity.
Commitments were restated by both sides to advance a unique trusted traveler program known as Global Entry which will allow approved travelers to breeze across the globe, using a “quick pass kiosk” at airports to avoid long lines at Customs and Immigration.
USIBC Chairman and MasterCard President & CEO Ajay Banga thanked the Ambassador for the opportunity to discuss the issues. “The Ambassador affirmed the strong ties between India and the United States and the importance of the commercial relationship. The potential to reach $500 billion in two-way trade by 2020 is an achievable goal if we work together in partnership in an environment that provides predictability, consistency, and transparency,” said Banga. He continued, “Outstanding issues will be resolved through constructive dialogue, and USIBC looks forward to working with India to enable such dialogue.”
USIBC President Ron Somers said, “Ambassador Jaishankar has shown that he values the U.S.-India business relationship as pivotal to driving the overall partnership forward. USIBC is pleased to play a role in facilitating such progress between the world’s largest free-market democracies.”
USIBC member companies FedEx, The Dow Chemical Company, Monsanto, International Paper, Tata, and Ford Motor Company graciously sponsored the event. In addition to Rajesh Subramaniam, members of USIBC’s Board of Directors also in attendance were Ambassador Susan Esserman, Partner, Steptoe & Johnson and Thomas Schick, Executive Vice President, Corporate and External Affairs, American Express.
Formed in 1975 at the request of the U.S. and Indian governments, the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) is the premier business advocacy organization advancing U.S.-India commercial ties. Today, USIBC is the largest bilateral trade association in the United States, headquartered in Washington, DC, with liaison presence in New York, Silicon Valley, and New Delhi, comprised of more than 350 of the top-tier U.S. and Indian companies. Ajay Banga, President & CEO of MasterCard, is USIBC’s chairman.