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U.S. plans series of trade missions

Special Correspondent
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Francisco Sanchez— Photo: S.R. Raghunathan
Francisco Sanchez— Photo: S.R. Raghunathan

The U.S. Commerce division has planned a series of trade missions to India to explore partnerships across broad-ranging sectors of mutual business interest, Francisco Sanchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, U.S. Department of Commerce, said on Monday.

Addressing reporters here, Mr. Sanchez who has headed the U.S. Commerce Department's first ever Ports and Maritime technology industry trade mission to India (in Chennai from February 20-24) said apart from more trade missions that brought the finest U.S. companies to India, the US-India commercial dialogue was also looking at ways to boost bilateral trade and strengthen commercial ties.

Defining the purpose of the visit to be to build two-way trade partnerships, develop stronger economies and create jobs in the U.S. and India, Mr. Sanchez said in March, U.S. Secretary of Commerce John Bryson was scheduled to bring a focus mission on infrastructure to India.

He pointed out that infrastructure was a core interest given the opportunities expected to open up in power generation, waste water management and transportation with India estimated to have over 65 cities with a million plus population by 2030.

Remove barriers

Pointing out countries were increasingly creating attractive business climate to woo investors, Mr. Sanchez said India's challenge was to remain competitive and build the ideal business climate to attract Foreign Direct Investment. India currently ranked 132 on the World Bank's ease of doing business index, he said.

He urged the government to remove barriers in bringing in the best technology in the development of local industries.

The delegation comprised 12 U.S. companies that provide state-of-the-art cargo handling equipment, port security and maritime technology equipment. These firms that offered cutting edge products and services and investment portfolios possessed the expertise to play a significant role in helping India meet its ambitious infrastructure targets and future economic goals, Mr. Sanchez said.

Apart from meeting business leaders, Mr. Sanchez will also be interacting with key government officials to press home “the U.S. commitment to work with India and local authorities to help achieve its economic development and infrastructure goals” and also communicate some of the concerns of American companies such as the congestion at ports.

Replying to a question, Mr. Sanchez said the high transaction costs of doing business with India was one of the challenges that was sought to be resolved by strengthening the bilateral partnership.

On his assessment of the State of the U.S. economy, he said the U.S. economy was moving in the right direction and had registered a fall in unemployment rate to 8.3 per cent, an upswing in manufacturing and exports going over 15 per cent for successive years, which was in line with President Obama's target of doubling U.S. exports to the world over a five year period.

The trade mission that is travelling to other key cities in the country kicked off in Chennai as it was an important port city with a rich maritime history spanning over a thousand years, Mr. Sanchez said.


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