USIBC Newsletter (October 31, 2019)
Message from the President
Happy Diwali and a prosperous year ahead! We hope that you had the opportunity to pause, reflect and enjoy some well-deserved time with friends and family.
The Diwali season brought a gift from the World Bank, which moved India 14 spots higher in its annual Ease of Doing Business report. The Bank commended Prime Minister Modi’s reform efforts, which have earned India a spot on the top 10 most-improved list for the third year running and catapulted the country to 63rd in the world from a dismal 142nd in 2014. This year’s ranking reflects improvements in the processes for registering businesses, trading across borders, resolving insolvency and acquiring permits for new construction. With India’s recently unveiled corporate tax reforms not yet factored in, GOI officials have expressed optimism that India will crack the top 50 next year – a longtime goal of PM Modi.
While it may have been a holiday in India, it was an action-packed few weeks for a number of our Indian members. In Delhi last week, Prime Minister Modi launched Bridgital Nation, a book by Tata Group Chairman N Chandrasekaran and Chief Economist Roopa Purushotamam on the coming disruption of articifial intelligence. Here in the United States, I was on hand to celebrate as tech giant Wipro doubled down on their investment in the United States with the opening of a new engineering and innovation center in Richmond, VA. We also hosted State Bank of India Chairman Rajnish Kumar, who sounded an optimistic note on the overall fundamentals of the Indian economy and India’s drive to become a $5 trillion economy.
India’s reforms took center stage again at Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative, better known as Davos in the Desert, where PM Modi delivered a keynote address Tuesday on “what’s next for India.” India is set to become just the fourth country to form a strategic partnership with Saudi Arabia, and Prime Minister Modi and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman are expected to sign agreements in key sectors including oil and gas, renewable energy and civil aviation. Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani also spoke at the event, alongside nearly 300 political and business leaders
Looking ahead, Colorado Governor Jared Polis will travel to India late this week, where he’s slated to speak at the 3rd annual Global Renewable Energy Investors’ Meet & Expo (RE-INVEST). Polis will be the 5th U.S. governor to travel to India this year with support from USIBC. For more on our work to promote U.S.-India connections at the state level, check out our recent update. You can also follow us on Twitter (@USIBC) for the latest coverage of official visits and policy updates.
ADVOCACY & EVENTS
The U.S. India Defense Trade and Trade Initiative (DTTI) aims to strengthen defense cooperation through dialogue between senior government officials. The 2019 talks were co-chaired by the Director General of Acquisitions Apurva Chandra and U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord
USIBC hosted an Indian commercial space delegation for a discussion of the U.S.-India space sector, supported by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Secure World Foundation. More than a dozen Indian space companies joined the delegation, including Bharat Forge, L&T Defense, Godrej, Aerospace Dynamatics Technology, and Walchand Industries. The group is conducting a multi-city tour focused on the U.S. commercial space industry, marketplace, and policies.The roundtable discussion drew nearly 70 participants from industry, government and civil society, and touched on India’s increasing reliance on the private sector for space infrastructure, as well as opportunities to increase trade and services between the U.S. and India. The discussion comes in advance of the government-to-government Civil Space Joint Working Group dialogue scheduled for November 20-21 in Bangalore.
For more information, please contact Jay Gullish.
October 21 – Lunch with SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar
USIBC hosted State Bank of India Chairman Rajnish Kumar for a small group discussion on the state of India’s financial markets and how India can transform the banking sector to support sustained investment and economic growth over the next decade. Kumar provided an overview of recent reforms in the Indian banking sector, followed by a presentation from SBI Chief Economic Advisor Soumya Ghosh on India’s drive to become a $5 trillion economy. Ghosh highlighted new growth drivers including India’s push for e-governance, digitization through Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile (JAM), expansion of the gig economy, growing end-to-end digital value chains, better financial data for lending to MSMEs, the rise of new fintech companies, and new last-mile delivery channels. He also noted that banks’ asset quality has improved in the past two years, and emphasized the Government of India’s committment to combating economic headwinds.
For more information, please contact Sid Mehra.
USIBC hosted Embassy of India Deputy Chief of Mission Amit Kumar, Economic Minister Arunish Chawla and Commerce Minister Manoj Mohapatra for a candid discussion of India’s economic trajectory. Following an update from DCM Kumar on India’s recent slate of reforms designed to support business and attract investment, the Embassy officials answered member questions on the status of U.S.-India trade negotiations, insurance, medical devices, data privacy, intellectual property, water access and more.For more information, please contact Abhishek Kishore.
Want More South Asia News?
Check out Foreign Policy’s new weekly South Asia Brief, which provides news and analysis from the world’s fastest-growing region, with an eye to business and technology. Written by Foreign Policy managing editor Ravi Agrawal and deputy editor Kathryn Salam.
USIBC hosted Honorary Chairman Amit Kapoor for a conversation on the the Institute for Competitiveness’ work with NITI Aayog to create the recently-launched 2019 India Innovation Index. The Index promotes competitive good governance and adoption of best practices to support an innovation-friendly ecosystem.Kapoor explained that the report distinguishes between the “inherited prosperity” of existing resources and “created prosperity,” or how states can create the policy conditions that will allow businesses to thrive. The study is also designed to create the data needed to effectively shape government policy. He also focused on the importance of “innovation clusters” for specific industries, emphasizing that India will need to create and expand these hubs to be competitive internationally.
The Innovation Index is flexibly designed to allow updates based on real-time data. While the second edition will be released in mid-2020, the data set and metrics underlying the analysis will be publicly available on the Niti Aayog website by next week. View the full Innovation Index 2019.
For more information, please contact Carolyn Posner.
- USIBC President Nisha Biswal on India’s rise in the Ease of Doing Business rankings: “Improved business ranking testament to Modi govt’s extensive and wide ranging reforms” (PTI, October 24)
- USIBC facilitates B2G meetings at the Himchal Pradesh Investors’ Summit: “Himachal chief secretary asks departments to play proactive role for global investors meet” (Times of India, October 19)
- FM Sitharaman makes the case for investment at U.S. Chamber, DC engagements: “Finance Minister In Visit To U.S., Makes Case For Investing in India” (News India Times, October 17)
Lunch Meeting with Consul General David Ranz
Reception for Governor of Colorado Jared Polis
in partnership with CII
Mumbai (11/4) and Bangalore (11/6)
USIBC Delegation to Himachal Pradesh Investor Summit
Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh
Interaction with DPIIT Secretary Guruprasad Mahapatra
Roundtable Discussion with FTC Commissioner Christine Wilson
Capitol Hill Diwali Celebration
U.S.-India State Spotlight Series: New Jersey
A SelectUSA webinar
India’s Personal Data Protection Law in the Context of the Data Driven Economy
A Joint workshop by USIBC and the Centre for Information Policy Leadership (CIPL)