Meeting with Mr. Patrick Santillo, Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs, U.S. Embassy
A meeting was held on 9th February 2017 at the United States Consulate in Chennai to brief Mr. Patrick Santillo, Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs, U.S. Embassy, on the business environment in Tamil Nadu. The participants were Mr. Ramkumar Ramamoorthy, Chairman – Tamil Nadu Chapter, AMCHAM, Mr. John Fleming, Principal Commercial Officer, South India and Mr. Aubrey Daniels, Regional Director – Tamil Nadu Chapter, AMCHAM.
Mr. John Fleming introduced Mr. Patrick Santillo and Mr. Ramamoorthy began by stating that Tamil Nadu has a very positive business environment which has transitioned from the agrarian to manufacturing and now to the services sector, with the manufacturing and services sector progressing very well. Traditional manufacturing businesses are solid, in the sectors of their choosing, but not many of the family owned businesses have ventured out of the state. Mr. Ramamoorthy also said that today Tamil Nadu has a vast talent reserve with several lakhs of engineers graduating from the engineering colleges in the state. He added that Chennai is renowned for being a ‘back office hub’ with the manufacturing and banking sectors choosing the city to establish their business processing centres. Companies such as Ford, Caterpillar, Fiat Chrysler, Mahindra, have established their IT and design centers in Chennai, while the World Bank, Bank of New York Mellon, Merrill, Fidelity etc. have established their business processing units in the city also.
Mr. Ramamoorthy added that despite natural calamities such as the floods, the city is very resilient and gets back to normal in the shortest possible time. The city has the advantage of good housing, plenty of schools, colleges, hospitals etc. to make the city an attractive investment destination.
Mr. Ramamoorthy spoke about the huge gap in availability of workers trained in the various trades required for the construction and services industry like masonry, plumbing, carpentry, basic skills in mechanical, electrical, air conditioning, refrigeration etc. He mentioned that the Government of India has a ministry dedicated to developing skills and capacity building. Mr. Patrick Santillo responded by saying that he saw an opportunity for community colleges to partner with institutions in India to build capacity in various skills. He offered to work with AmCham on this sector. Both Mr. Patrick Santillo and Mr. john Fleming appreciated the briefing and remarked that it was a very rewarding meeting.