Updates from USIBC (February 19, 2019)
Last week’s horrific attack in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashimir which took the lives of nearly 40 young soldiers reminds us all that the U.S.-India relationship is at its heart a strategic partnership rooted in shared values and a shared determination to advance opportunity and to combat the forces of violence and terror. On behalf of USIBC, we extended our deepest condolences to the families of those killed in the attack and we stand in solidarity with the people of India.
The week was supposed to be one where the trade and commercial relationship was to take center stage with the Commercial Dialogue and US-India CEO Forum happening in New Delhi. The CEO conclave, led by USIBC Board member Jim Taiclet of American Tower Corporation, resulted in the formation of a series of working groups to address areas of opportunity in the relationship. We were encouraged that despite the weather related cancellations which prevented Secretary Ross from leading the Commercial Dialogue in person, that his remote participation allowed for a constructive dialogue that yielded strong commitments to collaboration on standards, improving the business climate in India, and travel and tourism. The full press release can be found here.
But despite the positive engagements of the Commercial Dialogue, U.S.-India trade discussions are entering a particularly challenging period with elections on the horizon. Recent policy changes have introduced new challenges and uncertainty for U.S. industry operating in India, including in ecommerce, data localization and other aspects of digital trade. In the United States, the Trump Administration has sharpened its critiques of trade deficits and unfair trade practices, indicating that withdrawing India’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program benefits is a policy option on the table. While recognizing the need for tangible progress in bilateral trade negotiations, USIBC has advocated with administration officials that such an action would be detrimental to the overall trade relationship. Some of our recent media interactions have stressed upon these priorities.
In February, USIBC also continue its focus on States with a delegation to the Bengal Global Business Summit. In Kolkata, we highlighted the impact of U.S. industry and discussed opportunities for investment with the Chief Minister Mamata Bannerjee, State Minister of Finance Amit Mitra and other West Bengal officials. In addition to Industry participation, the delegation featured political leadership from North Carolina, including Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Morrisville Mayor TJ Cawley, as well as university, chamber of commerce and industry representatives from North Carolina. USIBC also led a robust capital markets delegation to Mumbai and Delhi led by HSBC India CEO Surendra Rosha.
Key Delegation Trip Outcomes:
- During the U.S. country seminar and in meetings with Dr. Amit Mitra, West Bengal Minister of Commerce and Industry, the delegation identified education and R&D as key areas for state-level engagement. We were also pleased to see USIBC members announce further investments in the state, including new grow plant and sourcing facilities, and announce their committment to creating local jobs.
- USIBC inked an agreement with Invest India (India’s national investment promotion agency) to jointly facilitate U.S. investment flows to India, building on engagements in Gujarat and West Bengal.
- The Capital Markets Delegation included executives from more than 20 global private equity funds, asset managers, investment banks, insurance intermediaries, and credit companies. The delegation met with policy leaders to discuss challenges to investing in India and the path to unlock future investments in the Indian economy and markets. As a part of these discussions, USIBC submitted a list of key issues and areas for reform to deepen the capital markets in India and encourage additional capital inflows. USIBC met with a range of USG and GOI officials, including SEBI Chairman Ajay Tyagi, DCM MaryKay Carlson, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal, DIPP Secretary Ramesh Abhishek,Chief Economic Advisor, Dr. Krishnamurthy Subramanian,Niti Aayog CEO, Amitabh Kant, and Department of Economic Affairs, Subhash Garg.
Advocacy and Events:
Updates on Data Policies, and Intellectual Property
In the run-up to elections, the Government of India has issued several consultations and new policies covering data issues that include ecommerce, intermidiary liability, privacy, among others. USIBC has responded to the public consultations, and engaged stakeholders to educate decision-makers and advocate for open, transparent, and consistent digital economy that drives innovation and job creation.
On the IP front, USIBC submitted comments to the Indian government on proposed updates to India’s patent regime, sports broadcasting regulations, and Cinematography Act. The changes to the Cinematography Act close the camcording loophole, which has been approved by India’s cabinet. In each of these instances, USIBC coordinated with US Chamber’s Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC). Separately, GIPC launched its 2019 International IP Index, where India climbed 8 places, from 44 in 2018 to 36 in 2019. This is an unprecedented improvement. Full copy of the report can be found here. For more details, please contact Jay Gullish.
Reception for India’s Ambassador to the United States Harsh Shringla in New Delhi (February 20, 2019)
USIBC in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) will host a welcome reception for Ambassador Harsh Vardhan Shringla, India’s Ambassador to the United States of America. For more information, please write to Sandip Samaddar.
USIBC to Lead Largest US Industry Delegation to Aero India 2019 (February 19-21, 2019)
USIBC will take a delegation to India’s 12th international show on aerospace, defense, civil aviation, airport infrastructure and defense engineering. The council has organized missions to this event for over a decade.This year’s event will feature more than 360 exhibitors and 62 aircraft on display. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Service Vice President Vivek Lall will lead the delegation, with incoming USIBC Defense and Aerospace Committee Head Rich Weir of Northrop Grumman in attendance. The delegation will also include senior executives from America’s premier aerospace & defense companies such as Raytheon, Textron, AECOM, General Atomics, Boeing, Harris, Telephonics, Northrop Grumman, and BAE Systems. For more information, please write to Ben Schwartz.
West Coast Reception- India, Trade & Technology in 2019 on February 20, 2019
With important Indian elections upcoming and questions of of how India can create a longterm enabling environment for technology and investment, please join the newly appointed Indian Consul General of San Francisco Ambassador Sanjay Panda and USIBC Global Board & Western Digital EVP Siva Sivaram for a fireside chat on the future of U.S.-India trade and innovation partnerships, as we discuss what Bay Area innovators should expect to see in 2019. For more information, please write to Thea Uppal.