USIBC Newsletter (August 8, 2019)
Message from the USIBC Team
It’s the height of the summer season, but our team at the U.S.-India Business Council continues to track a number of policy issues and lay the groundwork for a blockbuster fall. This week, we stand with the people of India in paying tribute to former Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, who passed away on Tuesday. Minister Swaraj was known as a politician willing to take on the toughest challenges, as well as for her personal outreach to Indians around the world.
On the economic front, the Government of India is combatting a slowdown in both domestic and international demand, which has depressed economic growth and job creation. Amid calls from the business community for fiscal stimulus measures, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman met with industry leaders this week as the GOI considers how to jump-start the economy. NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant also released an op-ed outlining the reforms needed to transform India into a $5-trillion economy.
Looking ahead, Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal is set to meet U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer for trade talks at the end of August. For the United States, a near-term agreement would reduce trade tensions and shore up an important strategic relationship – particularly important after the breakdown in U.S.-China trade talks and a subsequent round of tariffs. For India, it could counter flagging investor sentiment and provide positive news in advance of Prime Minister Modi‘s trip to the United States in September.
In addition to hosting events around PM Modi’s engagements in Houston and at the UN General Assembly meetings in New York, USIBC will host newly elected Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy and other visiting GOI officials at the U.S. Chamber and in Chicago in August. We will also lead a Life Sciences policy mission to India later this month.
ADVOCACY & EVENTS
On July 30, USIBC led two state-focused engagements in Denver. During an India-focused breakfast discussion held in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the State International Development Organization (SIDO), U.S. state trade office officials gathered for a conversation on leveraging commercial opportunities in India. That afternoon, USIBC and Colorado’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) hosted the first Colorado-India Business Roundtable, featuring Colorado Governor Jared Polis and Indian Ambassador Harsh Shringla. Discussion during the standing-room-only event focused on business development strategies. Read more about the event. Governor Polis announced plans to lead a business mission in early November to Mumbai and Bangalore. He will also speak at the 3rd Global RE-invest Renewable Energy Investors’ Meet and Expo. USIBC looks forward to working closely with the Governor’s team as planning for the trip progresses.
USIBC hosted a roundtable in New Delhi focused on identifying data policies that foster innovation, job creation, and investment. Led by IBM Asia Pacific VP of Government Affairs Stephen Braim, speakers emphasized the need for a regulatory structure that balances access to data, protection of data, and ownership of data. To be sustainable, the group agreed, data laws should also be easy to comprehend and implement, and should incorporate feedback and best practices from industry.
USIBC hosted Dr. Ajay Kumar, Secretary of Defence Production, and an accompanying Indian defense delegation to discuss progress in expanding U.S.-India trade and supply chain integration. Over 30 industry and government participants joined the discussion, moderated by Dr. Vivek Lall of Lockheed Martin, which focused on recent changes to India’s defense modernization process and developments in the defense, security, and capital acquisition sectors.Participants were also made aware of $9.2 billion in active Foreign Military Sales (FMS), with another $5 billion projected for the coming year.
- Nisha Biswal on the critical role of states in supporting international businesses: “Indian IT companies contributed $57.2 billion to US GDP in 2017” (Economic Times, August 2)
- USIBC joins a group of assocations advocating against hard data localization policies: “India’s Personal Data Protection Bill: What We Know So Far” (Money Control, August 6)
Privacy Working Group Monthly Call:
Debrief on the International Privacy Forum Conference Call
Roundtable with the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh
Roundtable with USTDA Acting Director Tom Hardy
USIBC hosts Andhra Pradesh CM – Chicago Edition
USIBC Life Sciences Mission to India
New Delhi, India
USIBC Roundtable with Dr. Shekhar Mande, Secretary DSIR & DG CSIR