Message from the President:
Board Announcement & USIBC Ideas Summit
I am delighted to welcome industry stalwart, Milind Pant, global CEO of Amway to USIBC’s Board of Directors. Milind’s presence adds further depth to our board and deepens the range of sectors represented in the Council’s leadership.
Please mark you calendars for USIBC’s upcoming Annual Meeting and Ideas Summit slated to take place in Washington, DC on June 12-13, where we will be hosting state and city officials from India and the United States in keeping with our theme of “Connecting Cities and States”. I encourage you all to reach out to Amy Hariani to find out more about the summit, getting involved, and speaking opportunities.
Indian Election Dates Announced
On March 10, 2019, the elections dates of India were announced. Polling will commence on April 11th and conclude on May 19th. Ballot counting will commence on May 23rd, 2019. The Election Commission Model Code of Conduct, which is a set of guidelines that outlines the conduct for political parties and candidates during elections with respect to speeches, election manifestos, polices and general conduct is now currently being applied through the election. Over the course of the next six weeks, over 900 million Indian citizens will go to the polls to cast their ballot.
On March 13, 2019 USIBC held a webinar entitled “The Elections in India: Analysis of the likely outcome and impact on business presented by APCO. Listen to the webcast and download the presentation here.
U.S. Withdraws India’s GSP Benefits
India’s political and border issues continue to dominate the headlines. However, this past week, U.S.-India trade relations too have taken the center stage with President Trump notifying U.S. Congress that he intends to terminate India’s GSP benefits. By statute, these changes will not take effect until at least 60 days after the notification and will be enacted by a Presidential Proclamation. In keeping with the U.S. Chamber’s longstanding support for the GSP program, USIBC had urged the continuation of GSP benefits for India but also recognizes the important trade issues at the center of these discussions and hopes there is a resolution soon.
While the commercial impact of removing duty benefits on Indian exports is fairly limited, the symbolism of the action and the likely repercussions should not be overlooked. USIBC hosted former Assistant USTR Mark Linscott for a member debrief on the issue and likely impact on industry. Mark’s analysis of the GSP Announcement can be found here. For more updates on GSP or to provide your company position on the issue, please reach out to Amy Hariani.
Tracking India’s Digital Policy Regulations
Last week, USIBC also spent significant time, engaging with members and creating a multi-pronged approach to tackling changes in India’s ecommerce policy- educating stakeholders about what the changes would mean, holding public consultations and engagements with Government of India officials, and leading a delegation to an inter-agency meeting led by the State Department officials, officiated by DAS Renz. USIBC also organized a candid webinar with two legal experts who shared their insights into the e-commerce policy as well as larger data policy issues.
Separately, USIBC also held a member interaction with Dr. Walter Copan, NIST’s Undersecretary of Commerce for Standards & Technology & Director on Artificial Intelligence on global standards in security & safety in New Delhi. For more information, please reach out to Jay Gullish.
Updates from the Life Sciences Sector
USIBC’s pharma companies had a productive meeting with National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) Chairperson, Dr. Shubhra Singh and discussed several issues and challenges faced by industry in responding to India’s growing healthcare needs. For more information, please write to Sandeep Maini or Mayank Rohatgi.
Aerospace and Defense Update
USIBC led the largest American industry delegation to Aero India 2019 in Bangalore. Led by Dr. Vivek Lall , Vice President of Lockheed Martin, the delegation comprised of senior executives from America’s premier aerospace & defense companies that included Raytheon, Textron, AECOM, General Atomics, Boeing, Harris, Telephonics, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems and others. Coproduction partnerships that support both Make-In-India and American business were front and center on the agenda. The delegation met with Minister of Defense, Nirmala Sitharaman; Union Minister of State for Defense, Dr. Subhash Bhamre; US Ambassador to India Ken Juster, and hosted a panel discussion on the opportunities in U.S.-India strategic ties as well as the political context of the relationship with Indian government officials and the U.S. government delegation led by Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Allan Shaffer, Director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency LTG Charles Hooper, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia, Dr. Joe Felter.
West Coast Reception- India,Trade & Technology in 2019
Recently appointed Indian Consul General, San Francisco Amb. Sanjay Panda and USIBC Global Board & Western Digital EVP Siva Sivaram spoke to USIBC members on the future of U.S.-India trade and innovation partnerships – and explored what Bay Area innovators should expect to see in the Valley, in India, and across the U.S-India corridor in 2019. The two debated how India can draw lessons from Silicon Valley, and what India must do to realize the growth opportunities of the future, especially where it has a natural competitive advantage over other smaller countries, such as regarding AI and machine learning development. The audience – comprised of Silicon Valley innovators representing new and legacy tech firms – shared their views on how India could increase investment and development of advanced manufacturing – with several participants warning that India must shy away from protectionist policies.
Draft National Logistics Policy
On February 5th, the Ministry of Commerce (Logistics Division) released a Draft National Logistics Policy. Apart from setting up a separate fund and a single-window e-marketplace, the draft policy also suggest setting up of a National Council for Logistics which will be chaired by the Prime Minister. The policy is aimed at integrating and optimizing various elements of a logistics value chain, to ensure seamless, multi-modal growth of an efficient logistics sector in the country. USIBC has received input from members and submitted comments and recommendations to the Government. For more information on the policy, please write to Jasjit Singh.
ADVOCACY & EVENTS
USIBC Supports SelectUSA’s U.S.-India Spotlight Series Webinar: Doing Business in the State of Kentucky on March 12
Governor Matt Bevin of Kentucky led the USIBC Delegation of business and U.S. state leaders to India in January 2019 to attend and participate at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Business Summit. In order to continue the momentum of developing Kentucky-India relations, USIBC is supporting the U.S. Commercial Service and SelectUSA free webinar on doing business in the U.S. State of Kentucky. Learn why Kentucky is a central and attractive market for international businesses across a broad range of industries. Hear from other foreign investors and businesses about their success in Kentucky. Gain independent expert insight about how Kentucky’s business climate ranks with the United States. Learn more about opportunities in the sectors- Automotive, Aerospace, Food and Beverage, Distribution and Logistics, Chemicals, Primary Metals, Rubber and Plastics. For more information, please write to Sid Mehra.
USIBC Webinar on Blockchain for International Trade and Supply Chain Logistics on March 13
Join USIBC and experts from Sheppard Mullin for an engaging webinar on the latest on blockchain technology and its impact on international trade and supply chain. This webinar will provide an overview of blockchain technology and its application to international trade and supply chain logistics. It will cover the business opportunities and advantages of using blockchain for these purposes and address some of the legal considerations to be addressed when doing so. To register please visit here.
USIBC Defense Roundtable on March 14 in Washington, DC
USIBC is delighted to host Shri Ajay Kumar, Secretary, Defence Production, Ministry of Defence; Alan Shaffer, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, Acquisition & Sustainment; and Shri Apurva Chandra, Director General (Acquisition) Additional Secretary, Defence Production, Ministry of Defence, Government of India for a discussion on U.S.-India strategic ties. For more information, please reach out to Ben Schwartz.
USIBC Reception to Promote and Support Grid-Scale Battery Storage Solutions at India Smart Utility Week in New Delhi on March 14
USIBC in association with AES, Fluence and Siemens will host a cocktail reception during India Smart Utility Week. This reception will celebrate and promote the opening of India’s first and South Asia’s largest grid-scale battery storage system this past month in New Delhi. AES in partnership with the local utility Tata Power-DDL and Mitsubishi, developed and delivered a 10MWh grid-connected system using the technology provided by Fluence, an international alliance between AES, and Siemens. This project will help facilitate the way forward for wider adoption of grid-scale battery energy storage technology across India.The reception will include US Government energy officials, Government of India energy leaders, and representatives from various state-owned distribution companies. RSVP with Frank Hollowell.
US-India Executive Energy Reception & Dinner in Houston – March 14
USIBC is organizing a series of programs to highlight energy cooperation- starting with a reception and dinner on March 14th in honor of the Indian delegation to CERAWeek in Houston, Texas to highlight the growing commercial energy ties between our two countries. The Indian delegation will be led by Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas Secretary Dr. M. M. Kutty. Also joining will be FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee, and Houston Consul General Dr. Anupam Ray and will include executive leaders from India’s oil and gas industry, U.S. industry executives, and U.S. and Indian government officials. For more information, please write to Lauren Diekman.
USIBC Site Visit with AES, Fluence, and Siemens to newly inaugurated 10MW Battery Storage Facility on March 15 in New Delhi
USIBC in coordination with AES, Siemens and Fluence and the Indo-German Energy Forum will provide technical tours of the newly inaugurated 10MW energy storage facility owned by AES and Mitsubishi Corporation. This will be an opportunity to showcase to regulators, distribution company executives, and government officials to see first hand how battery energy storage systems enables electricity to be stored and then delivered within milliseconds. RSVP with Frank Hollowell.
USIBC Fireside Chat Series on March 18 in Mountain View, CA
Join President of USIBC Nisha Biswal and Kamal Ahluwalia, President of Eightfold and for an update on the state of play of the U.S.-India Commercial relationship. They will cover the revocation of GSP benefits for India, what is in the store for industries in the Silicon Valley in the upcoming general election for India, and the impact of border tensions between India and Pakistan. To RSVP, please write Thea Uppal