Roundtable with U.S. Congressional Delegation 27th January 2015 at ACSA, U.S. Embassy
Amcham hosted a discussion with a visiting congressional delegation and VIPs from the U.S. government. The meeting took place on 27th January 2015 at ACSA, U.S. Embassy.
Opening remarks were made by Mr. Banmali Agrawala, Chairman, Amcham India and President & CEO, GE South Asia. He emphasized that the Modi government has made some movement towards resolving barriers for companies. The opportunity to leverage India from a global perspective is high. There is still a certain amount of bottlenecks that need to be removed. It was also mentioned that the cost of capital remains high.
Senator Mark Warner, Virginia, Co-Chair of the Senate India Caucus, stressed the importance of the critical relationship between U.S. and India. He encouraged us to acknowledge how far India has come in the last 2 years but also temper the enthusiasm. There are still challenges, especially for e-commerce. The proof will be what happens in the next several months.
Congressman Joe Crowley, New York, Democratic Caucus Vice-Chairman was grateful for the opportunity to listen to the challenges and reality after the euphoria of President Obama’s visit. He reiterated that he truly believes in the relationship between both countries and to take advantage of the positive atmosphere.
Congressman Ami Bera, California, Co-Chair of Congressional India Caucus explained that many companies express to him the same challenges to doing business in India as that in China, however, India lacks the predictability. It’s difficult to make business decision under certain assumptions that may shift. India has clearly made it known that they want a seat at the table with the first world nations.
Ms. Elizabeth Littlefield, President & CEO, Overseas Private Investment Corporation was encouraged that the tone and level of openness to discuss the ease of doing business in India has improved dramatically over the years. She expressed excitement over the push to get bank accounts for all citizens of India. Renewable energy has been a focus for OPIC over the last few years. Their portfolio in India has grown almost seven-fold since the President Obama’s last visit.
Ms. Leocadia Zak, Director, U.S. Trade and Development Agency underscored the need to focus on specific ways to move ahead. USTDA provide early project planning with the specific focus on involving the U.S. private sector. They signed 3 MOUs during this Presidential visit focused on the smart cities effort. The state government level is responding with the central government. Chief Minister Naidu of Andhra Pradesh participated in the MOU signing.
The discussion was moderated by Mr. Ajay Singha, Executive Director, Amcham. The sector’s discussed during the floor participation include ICT, defence, homeland security and medical devices.