Breakfast Meeting with Key Officers of the U.S. Consulate General, Chennai
AMCHAM’s Tamil Nadu Chapter organized a meeting with key officials from the U.S. Consulate General in Chennai on September 27th. The guest speakers included Consul General Robert Burgess, Mr. James Fluker, Principal Commercial Officer and Mr. Kent May, Consular Chief. The meeting began with Mr. Aubrey Daniels, Regional Director – Tamil Nadu Chapter, AMCHAM welcoming participants and officers from the Consulate. In his opening remarks Consul General Robert Burgess gave members a bird’s eye view of the recent happenings in Indo – U.S. relations. He added that the other interesting developments are the strategic partnership on Afghanistan, economic development through regional stability in South Asia, cooperation in the Indo Pacific region, working with the United States in keeping the maritime trade routes open and the freedom for the navy to navigate the sea in the area. The other important developments have been the growing partnership in science, technology and education. He went on to state that economic and commercial ties have strengthened with trade at $125 billion a year, two-way investment at $45 billion. He briefed participants on the outcomes of the recently held U.S. – India 2 + 2 Dialogue and emphasized the strength of the people to people connection between both countries.
In his remarks, Principal Commercial Officer, Jim Fluker, said that there are about 1,900 U.S. companies operating in India. He added that India was the lead partner in Indo-Pacific cooperation and that Commerce Secretary will lead a delegation of 100 companies for the U.S. – India CEO Forum to India. He mentioned the next big initiative ‘Trade Winds.’ the largest annual U.S. government-led trade mission headed to India during May 6th – 8th, 2019. Trade Winds would facilitate networking sessions with key industry contacts, schedule individual meetings with U.S. economic diplomats, gain first-hand market insight and solidify Indo-Pacific business strategy during the visit to India.
Chief of Consular Services, Kent May, in his address to members said that the mission post in Chennai was quite large with 45 U.S. citizens and over 200 Indian staff working at the Consulate. He requested members to inform all U.S. citizens working in their companies to register with the American Citizen Services section at the Consulate. Registrations could be done online at www.travel.state.gov. Mr. Kent May said that Chennai and India beat the trend of a downturn in visas issued globally. In Chennai the Consulate processed over 300,000 visa applications and the pan India figure was over 1.1. million. He also added that the Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs will travel to India in October 2018 and will be visiting New Delhi and Chennai.
During the interactive session, Mr. Kent May addressed various visa questions. The meeting concluded with thanks by the Regional Director Mr. Aubrey Daniels to the officers of the Consulate and to the members who participated at this meeting.