USIBC Newsletter (August 22, 2019)
Message from the President
As India celebrated its 72nd birthday during last week’s Independence Day celebrations, Prime Minister Modi marked the occasion with a wide-ranging speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort addressing some of the challenges facing the nation and his determination to steer the ship of state. While much attention has focused on the decision to revoke Article 370, which granted special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the speech also highlighted important economic and development priorities, including a plan to invest nearly $50 billion to bring piped water to households and much-needed stimulus in the form of $1.4 trillion in spending on roads, railways, and other infrastructure.
Amid a slowdown in consumer spending, Prime Minister Modi noted the need for India to grow exports in order to boost jobs and create the path to a $5 trillion economy by 2024. Another key announcement was the establishment of a Defense Chief of Staff position, akin to the U.S. Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, designed to create a unified command structure in the Indian armed forces. While details on implementation for many of these announcements are not yet available, we are tracking government policy initiatives and will bring them to you as they are unveiled.
Trade and economic issues were also discussed in a 30-minute phone call between President Trump and Prime Minister Modi earlier this week, alongside a range of regional and bilateral issues. With the two leaders expected to meet on the margins of the G7 Summit in France this weekend, there is some potential for progress towards resolution of lingering trade issues, despite the fact that planned trade talks between Amb. Lighthizer and Minister Goyal have yet to take place. With another potential leader-level meeting in New York in September, we could be in for a period of more intense engagement between the two governments.
USIBC continues to be actively engaged on all of these developments. We are also busy preparing for the upcoming visit by PM Modi to the United States, which will include travel to Houston for the Howdy Modi Summit, followed by New York City for the U.N. General Assembly meetings. The Houston event is already sold out, with over 50,000 people expected to attend – making it the largest event ever held for an Indian Prime Minister in the United States. It’s also the one of the largest gatherings ever for a foreign leader, second only to Pope Francis’ visit in 2015.
ADVOCACY & EVENTS
August 8 – USIBC M&E Committee Call with Andrea DaSilva, U.S. Department of Commerce
Andrea DaSilva, Global M&E Team Leader at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Digital Services Industries (Commerce/ODSI) leads a large team of M&E specialists throughout the U.S. that assist U.S. companies with exports of M&E and cultural products. ODSI supports a number of USG reports including the National Trade Estimate and Special 301. Participants shared key issues and areas where ODSI can engage with India. DaSilva also flagged several ODSI top M&E market reports which include India: Overview, India Section and Full Report.
A Partnership for Growth
In partnership with the Atlantic Council South Asia Center and the Georgetown University India Initiative, USIBC hosted Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy in Washington. The event was the only business-focused engagement during the Chief Minister’s first visit to the U.S. since his victory in Andhra Pradesh in May. U.S. Chamber SVP Rob Schroder and Indian Ambassador Harsh Shringla highlighted the importance of state-level engagement, and noted Andhra Pradesh’s positive growth trajectory and areas for future engagement with U.S. industry.
Chief Minister Reddy emphasized investment opportunities in his state, which include inftrastructure, transportation and logistics, and the growing agricultural sector.
USIBC Life Sciences member companies had a constructive discussion with U.S. Trade and Development Authority (USTDA) Acting Director Thomas Hardy in New Delhi. Hardy provided updates on a number of active USTDA programs, including technical and regulatory studies, training grants, and trade missions, and encouraged companies participating in USIBC’s Life Sciences Policy Mission to utilize USTDA’s programs.
USTDA is planning a reverse trade mission of mostly private sector hospital executives and sought data on forthcoming opportunities.
- USIBC and Coalition on concerns around India’s draft data privacy bill: “MeitY Carries Out Private Consultations On Draft Data Protection Bill” (Inc42, August 21)
- Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce: “Jagan invites US-India Business Council to collaborate with A.P.” (The Hindu, August 17)
- USIBC President Nisha Biswal talks investment, growth, and the U.S.-India Partnership: “It is in Both U.S. and India’s Interest to Work Through the Hard Issues on Trade” (India Inc., August 17)
Roundtable with Andhra Pradesh Special Chief Secretary P V Ramesh
USIBC Life Sciences Policy Mission to India
Conference Call on Draft Direct Tax Code (DTC)
Armchair Discussion with Nisha Biswal and Foreign Policy Managing Editor Ravi Agrawal
Roundtable with Dr. Shekhar Mande, Secretary DSIR & DG CSIR
Nisha Biswal Speaks at the Indiaspora Global Forum
New York City
Reception for Governor of New Jersey Phil Murphy
In partnership with the Federation for Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI)
U.S.-India Gas Task Force Meeting (9/16) & Gastech
India on the Hill: Co-Hosted by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and The Heritage Foundation