3 minute readUS sends high tech trade mission to India

Arun Kumar, Washington

With controls on export of high tech items to India eased, US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke is leading a trade mission to India next week to pitch high-tech ware from civil nuclear to defense and civil aviation fields.

Top US companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, GE-Hitachi and Westinghouse are among 24 businesses in the February 6-11 business mission to India led by Locke, who accompanied President Barack Obama to India in November last year. More than USD10 billion in business deals between US companies and Indian private sector and government entities, supporting 50,000 American jobs, were signed during the Obama visit.

Besides the aviation, defense and nuclear power majors, other businesses joining the trade mission are based in 13 states across the country and more than half of them are small and medium-sized companies, the US Commerce department said Thursday.

The delegation, which also includes senior officials from the Export-Import Bank (EX-IM) and the Trade Development Agency (TDA), will make stops in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Arriving in India Sunday, Locke will participate in a kick-off event with members of the business delegation and deliver the keynote address at a luncheon hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Monday.

In New Delhi, he will also meet with Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi and Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

On Tuesday, Locke will participate in a press conference at the Aero India show, a major international military aviation trade show, in Bangalore where the US pavilion will have its largest presence to date and will be the largest foreign presence at the show. He will also visit Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), India’s premier aerospace manufacturing company, to see firsthand, how US partnerships with HAL are contributing to India’s aviation industry and generating high value jobs in both countries.

Locke will meet officials of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on Wednesday and address a luncheon meeting hosted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in Mumbai and deliver a keynote address at the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) India Leadership Forum 2011 on Thursday, in addition to meeting Indian CEOs from the US-India CEO Forum.

Locke concludes his visit Friday with meetings with Reserve Bank of India Governor Dr. D Subbarao and officials of the Department of Atomic Energy and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, besides meeting tiffin-wallahs to learn about the unique Tiffin-walah logistics operation that delivers home-cooked food to thousands of people daily.

Last week, US Commerce Department lifted a 12-year-old export control ban on nine Indian space and defence-related companies, removing them from the so-called Entity List in a move expected to drive hi-tech trade and forge closer strategic ties with India. “It was a significant milestone that will reinforce the US-India strategic partnership, strengthen global non-proliferation efforts, and facilitate high technology trade and cooperation,” the Commerce Department said Thursday.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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