In lieu of the fact that the Obama administration plans to push its ‘Select USA’ program to new heights, and that India plays a big part in its plans, the USIIF (US-India Investors’ Forum) along with the U.S. Commercial Service—India, held an evening of “High Tea” at the Mumbai Offices of the U.S. Consulate, on December 19, to introduce some of corporate India’s eminent personalities to the program.
‘SelectUSA’ is a Presidential initiative located in the Department of Commerce. It co-ordinates investment related resources across U.S. Federal agencies, and serves as an information clearinghouse for the global investment community. It acts as an ombudsman for investors.
Ms. Camille Richarson, Commercial Consul, U.S. Commercial Service-India told those present at the meeting that ‘SelectUSA’ is top-priority for President Obama, and India is high-priority for him-within and apart from the program.
Ms. Richardson said that ‘SelectUSA’ works in partnership with Economic Development Organizations (EDOs) across the U.S.A. to stay on top of investment opportunities all over the country, and the USIIF, under the guidance of the U.S. Commercial Service would function as corporate India’s point of contact with ‘SelectUSA’.
Ms. Richardson touched upon a few factors that make the U.S. a premier investment destination, namely: The U.S.A. is the largest recipient of FDI in the world; Interest rates in the US are extremely low; The country has made huge strides in manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, information technology, energy, and many other areas; The U.S. has a talented workforce; It has a strong Intellectual Property Protection system; The country has a transparent legal system; The US has highly developed infrastructure; It has robust supply chains; There are a number of new Trade Agreements in the pipeline, which will make free trade even simpler.
Ms. Richardson told those present that, in October, for the first time in Presidential history, the US held “The Select-USA Summit”, in Washington D.C. The Summit was attended by many Indian investors. 45 out of the 50 U.S. States participated in the delegation. The Indian delegation, led by Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs John McCaslin, was the second or third largest of all the delegations. President Obama, Secretary of State, John Kerry, and the Secretary of Commerce, were in attendance, and gave powerful addresses. A number of CEOs from top U.S.A. companies were also active participants.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker commented in her address that “The SelectUSA Summit is all about business. It’s all about connecting investors with communities. We want to open that first door to making an investment here in the United States. Clearly, our investment climate is strong. America is open for business.”
The Select USA Summit featured high-level speakers from business and government:
President Obama and five Cabinet Members: Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.
Martin Claessens, Commercial Officer, U.S. Commercial Service-India told the audience that there are a number of events planned for January itself. The ‘International Buyer Program’, is to be held in Las Vegas, where business delegates from India could market their products with presentations, networking, by sponsoring a cocktail, etc.
Ms. Richardson and Mr. Manoj Gursahani, Vice Chairman , USIIF, called for those present to engage with the USIIF, so they and their clients may participate in ‘SelectUSA’ events in the future.