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Remarks of Ambassador Demetrios J. Marantis Before the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII)

August 12, 2009
Confedeation of Indian Industries
New Delhi, India

*As Prepared for Delivery*

 

I had a very thought-provoking discussion with Tarun Das and a visiting CEOs delegation in Washington last month, and I'm delighted to continue that discussion today.

We are meeting at a time of historic opportunity - in each of our countries record numbers of voters recently cast their ballots in favor of new ideas and new leaders.  But we also meet at a time of historic challenges - those new leaders, and all of us here today, are working to overcome a global recession that has proved catastrophic for too many families in both our countries.

But in the face of those challenges, America and India are working closely together.  Because of that work, our economies are more resilient and our commercial ties are stronger than ever.

We need to build on that work to create incentives that will stimulate trade and investment flows.  Currently, India is our 17th largest trade partner.  At USTR, our goal is to raise that ranking to the top ten - and it's doable.

While I'm here this week, the first round of bilateral investment treaty negotiations between our two governments is taking place.  As U.S. negotiators sit down to talk with India's, one thing is certain: India's investors and companies have as much at stake, and as much to gain, as America's investors and companies do.

In the last three years, our bilateral trade volume doubled.  And it is extraordinary to see the ever-increasing role of India's companies - the large conglomerates, entrepreneurs and investors - in the U.S. economy.

India's companies are making a tremendous impact in the U.S. market.  According to CII's report on the "Contribution of Indian Industry to the U.S. Economy," they invested a total of $105 billion from 2004 to 2007, directly creating 110,000 jobs.

I don't have with me photographs of the U.S. workers India's companies employ, or the families they support, but I can give you a snapshot of the opportunities Indian-American trade is creating for those families.

According to CII's report, over the last three years, key sectors that have created jobs in the United States include civil aviation, automotive, gems and jewelry and pharmaceuticals.  I would add defense to that.

Job creation in the U.S. as a result of trade with India follows many paths.

CII cites the direct creation of 8,300 jobs in the aviation sector.  We know that when India acquires U.S. goods such as Boeing aircraft (over $10 billion dollars worth in recent years), those planes are being built in U.S. plants by American hands.

Similar stories for different reasons come in the other sectors.  Retail jobs are enabled in the U.S. through the sourcing of jewelry from India.  Indian pharmaceutical firms are setting up offices and operations in the U.S., hiring Americans.

And, India's defense sector, an area in which the United States was essentially a non-player until 8 years ago, is now another driver of trade and jobs, with companies such as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Boeing supplying the Government of India with sophisticated defense equipment.

On the other side of the ledger, so to speak, is the reality that India has also benefited enormously from trade and investment with the United States.

The United States is India's largest trading partner, and a top consumer, for example, of India's agricultural, jewelry, and textiles exports.  These create jobs in the thousands, especially among farmers and small businesses who are most in need of economic empowerment in India.

And, that doesn't even include the jobs that have been created through India-U.S. ties in the IT sector.  The success of this sector in India has helped foster a new sense in India that Indians can accomplish anything.  But, it was India's ties with the U.S. that helped to propel that sector.

For all the alleged divides between the U.S. and India over trade-related liberalization, it is critical that people in India not forget that one of the manifestations of the shared economic interests of the United States and India is the fact that the United States is India's most important export market, and that those exports have and still are creating jobs in India, thus demonstrating the value of trade in general and trade with the United States in particular.

All this is simply to say to you that that trade and investment with India is a two-way street and it needs to grow in both directions.  Politics aside, there is ample evidence that both sides are benefiting in the trade arena in this new era and those benefits can and should grow through opening markets and opportunities for investment.

Over the course of this week, I'll be sharing our bilateral success story with leaders in Mumbai and Delhi, because our successes to date are powerful arguments for more engagement, more trade, and more investment.  As I sit down with individual companies and business groups, I will be seeking their thoughts on what the U.S. and Indian governments can do to create greater opportunities for trade and investment, just as I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas today.

I will be sharing those ideas with your Government, most notably with Commerce Secretary, my direct counterpart at the Indo-U.S. Trade Policy Forum.

The Trade Policy Forum has been - and will continue to be - an important dialogue on trade and investment matters.  Because of conversations held at the Forum, Indian consumers can purchase American apples and almonds, and American consumers can savor Indian mangoes.  These are successes to be celebrated, but we must continue to expand our areas of cooperation.

I look forward to Ambassador Kirk and Minister Sharma convening a TPF in the fall.

And I'd like to thank CII for its continued counsel to the Private Sector Advisory Group to the Trade Policy Forum.  The group was created in 2007 to give the Trade Policy Forum strategic direction in its deliberations on trade policy issues, and your contributions to that end have been extremely helpful.

We have made great progress in the United States.-India relationship, and we are committed to continuing that progress.

As our policies develop, it is critical that U.S. and Indian companies are part of the dialogue.  Thank you all for joining that dialogue today.  I welcome your insights and questions.