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Message from the President
With just one more week remaining before polling concludes in the Indian elections, current trends put India on track for its highest ever voter turnout. Surges in participation from women and younger voters are driving record-breaking polling numbers, with participation nearing 70%. As I indicated in this interview with CNBC, forecasting election results in India is always a challenge, and recent market volatility suggests that Dalal Street is equally uncertain about the result. Luckily the end is near and we will all know the outcome when votes are counted on May 23rd.
On the trade front, Secretary Wilbur Ross led a delegation of over 100 businesses to India for the Commerce Department’s Trade Winds program. Secretary Ross also met with Prime Minister Modi and Minister of Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu for a discussion which touched onecommerce, data protection and intellectual property rights. At the same time, there are indications of progress on some of the trade issues at the center of intense negotiations between USTR and the Indian Commerce Minister. While there has been no official confirmation from either government, press reports indicate a deal may be under discussion.
Meanwhile, USIBC is busy preparing for our India Ideas Summit on June 12–13. This year’s theme, “Connecting Cities and States,” is one we have embodied all year – most recently with visits to California and Kentucky. In Los Angeles, we met with executives from AECOM, RSM and Paramount, as well as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Ambassador Shringla also joined us for a cocktail reception and discussion with members on India’s technology, trade and investment landscape. Check out our blog for more details.
While in LA, I also spoke at the Milken Global Conference on the Modi Administration’s reforms, election prospects and the future of market growth. The business-focused panel included Tata Sons President of Global Corporate Affairs and former Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar, Infosys President and Deputy COO Ravi Kumar, and Swiss Re Reinsurance Asia CEO Jayne Plunkett.
In Louisville, Kentucky USIBC organized a visit with Ambassador Shringla to the flagship UPS Worldport facility, which supports worldwide connectivity for UPS shipping, including to India. Our Kentucky trip also featured a site visit to GE Appliances with Tech Mahindra and a lunch discussion with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Beam Suntory and several other Kentucky businesses, as well as dinner with Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin.
Stay tuned for Indian election updates and announcements of India Ideas Summit Speakers. Space at the Summit is limited, so reserve your seat now!
ADVOCACY & EVENTS
April 24 — Khaitan & Co and Sheppard Mullin: The Future of the U.S.-India Relationship
With support from USIBC, legal and business experts from Khaitan & Co., Sheppard Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP, and Sannam S4 held a discussion on the future of U.S.-India relations. India’s elections and recent trade spats have created an inflection point in the bilateral relationship. Panel speakers shared predictions for how election results could impact the relationship. With investments at an all-time high and continued confidence in the long-term growth of the economic partnership, however, the panel concluded that regardless of election outcomes the future of U.S.-India commercial ties remains bright. For more information contact Amy Hariani or Frank Hollowell.
April 24 — Roundtable with the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
USIBC hosted the first U.S. delegation from Kolkata’s 75-year-old Indian Chamber of Commerce, including President Rudra Chatterjee and 10 ICC delegates. The event drew USIBC members and academic leaders, as well as senior officials from USTR, State Department, Commerce, and USDA. Indian Ambassador Harsh Shringla highlighted the potential for cooperation between India and the United States, and other speakers noted opporunities in the India’s north and northeast as state-to-state connectivity bolsters two-way investment flows. For more information contact Sandeep Maini.
April 25 — Profit Attribution Rules in India: Need for Change
USIBC & Dhruva Advisors LLP hosted a discussion on attribution of profits to a Permanent Establishment (PE), an area of concern for multinationals in India. A broad attribution rule under the Indian tax laws and the lack of specific guidance can result in uncertainty over the amount of profits attributable to a PE. A Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) committee issued a detailed public consultation paper, which adopted a view quite divergent from the OECD approach to profit attribution. It has come up with recommendations on amending the domestic tax rules on profit attribution and has invited suggestions from stakeholders and the general public. The webinar provided a forum for feedback from members, and underscored possible implications for MNCs operating in India. For more information, contact Nileema Pargaonker or Rohan Sirkar.