FDI: US State Governors and LGs vouch for strong ties with India; Pitch for foreign direct investment from India

A bipartisan group of US governors and top officials has pledged strong bilateral ties with India and advocated investment from the Indian corporate sector, which they say will bring not only FDI but also skills and local jobs to the US.

Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas along with Lieutenant Governors Garlin Gilchrist of Michigan and Eleni Kounalakis of California made an aggressive pitch to a group of more than 100 Indian companies traveling to the US to attend the annual Select USA Investment Summit attend the American capital.

In remarks at a reception hosted by India’s Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, at the popular India House, these senior state-level elected officials explained that Indian companies add value to their state economy, bring new skills and most important of all create the most desirable jobs.

According to a 2020 survey by the Confederation of Indian Industries, more than 155 Indian companies have invested US$22 billion.

Referring to the unicorns that appear in India nearly every week, Pennsylvania Gov. Wolf told the audience that India is “a dynamic nation and a sleeping giant.”

The Republican governor said he was proud to have maintained his admiration and friendship for India all these years.

Arkansas Governor Hutchinson, who is a member of the Democratic Party, affirmed that India-US relations enjoy bipartisan support.

“It really shows that he’s a Democrat, I’m a Republican… We all support our relationship with India in a bipartisan way. I think that speaks well for our National Governors Association, that we’re working together, we’re promoting our states, we’re promoting the relationship that we have with our allies like India,” Hutchinson said.

In 2019 he traveled to India.

Arkansas, he said, has benefited from “large foreign direct investments” from Indian companies, including

Mahindra Group, , and employs several thousand people from Arkansas.

Just last year, Wipro announced they were building a new large service center that will employ 400 Arkansans.

“So we appreciate the great investments that are being made. Tata Consulting Services (TCS) is another example of an Indian company investing in its business in Arkansas and also in students who are promoting STEM education in our state,” he said.

MINT stands for the fields of natural sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Lt Gov Gilchrist said Michigan is already home to a number of influential Indian-American companies including Mahindra, Tata Group and Wipro.

“We are grateful for the continued partnership and investment by Indian companies and the Michigan community, where they not only enjoy a strong business climate, but also a cost of living that is 10 percent cheaper than the national average, a highly skilled and loyal workforce, and an incredible quality of life, which my colleagues will appreciate and which is unparalleled in the United States of America,” he said.

“I encourage everyone here today to continue to connect with us in Michigan at my Michigan Economic Development Corporation and work together to continue expanding economic opportunities that benefit our state, this country and the nation of India “, he said .

“An opportunity for all your ideas and imagination certainly awaits you in Michigan. …Michigan also happens to be home to a very vibrant Indian-American community. In fact, it is the fastest growing racial and ethnic group in our state. We are very proud of this award,” said Gilchrist.

Lt Gov Eleni Kounalakis of California, the world’s fifth largest economy if it were a country, exuded confidence that the relationship between California and India will continue to grow.

“Why am I so confident? First, because California has more Indian Americans than any other state. In places like Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Silicon Valley, where they make up 6.4 percent of the population, San Jose, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Census Territory. That’s the highest percentage in the United States,” she said.

“Second, I am confident that this relationship will continue to grow as overall trade between California and India continues to grow despite the pandemic. Before COVID-19, trade between our sub-national government and the country of India was over US$10 billion and in 2021 it was US$12.5 billion,” she said.

“Finally, Indian investment in California continues to thrive, with nearly 300 Indian-owned firms operating in our state, employing more than 8,000 people and generating more than $980 million in wages each year,” she said.

“In short, from the Golden Gate to India Gate, the ties between California and India are strong and growing, be it between Hollywood and Bollywood or Silicon Valley and Bangalore. As Lieutenant Governor … I appreciate the strong bonds of friendship and I look forward to a brighter and more cooperative future for all,” she said.

Welcoming the top governors, lt governors and other senior US government officials, Sandhu stressed that Indian companies in the United States bring “strength, resilience and competitiveness” to the United States. They create jobs in local communities and build capacity and technical know-how.

“During my travels, I am amazed to see what our neighborhood companies have been doing and collaborating with schools and universities. During my recent visits to Indianapolis, Chicago, and San Antonia, I’ve seen firsthand the contribution they make,” said Sandhu. India, he said, has accelerated the speed and scale of economic reforms, making India a superb place to do business, hire talent and produce for the world.

Arun Venkataraman, deputy secretary of commerce for global markets and director-general of the US and Foreign Trade Service, said India’s foreign direct investment in the United States is over $12.7 billion, creating over 70,000 jobs in the United States.

“It goes without saying that India is a key trading partner… We are partners bound by shared values, by the rule of law, by a commitment to democracy, and as a diaspora resilient enough to refuse to reverse that relationship.” Step. We are proud to be here to keep this relationship on track and to ensure that the commercial side underpins an already important and longstanding strategic partnership,” said Venkataraman.

Jasjit Singh is Executive Director of SelectUSA, this year’s Indian delegation of 138 delegates is the second largest by any measure at the Select USA Investment Summit.

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