Locke terms US trade mission ‘resounding success’

February 11th, 2011 - 10:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Mumbai, Feb 11 (IANS) Describing it as “a resounding success”, US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke concluded here Friday a six-day trade mission that took him to New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai.”This trade mission was a resounding success. For some companies on our trip, ’success’ was an initial meeting or consultation with Indian government or business leaders that will lead to deals down the road,” he said.

“For others, success was more immediate with some companies leaving India on the cusp of making multimillion dollar sales. Either way, these companies have made important inroads into one of the most promising high-technology markets in the world,” Locke said in his departure remarks.

He said the mission provided the US delegation access to key Indian public and private sector decision makers and explore opportunities to enter or expand their presence in this emerging market.

On Friday morning, the second day of his visit to the country’s commercial capital, Locke met the executive committee of the US-India Importers Council, an initiative that supports Indian companies importing goods and services from the US.

The mission of the Council is to advance President Barack Obama’s National Export Initiative and to support the efforts of Indian companies that import products from the US, an official said.

With economic growth estimates of about 9.7 percent in 2010, India is a key market for the Obama administration’s National Export Initiative which aims to double US exports in five years.

Later, Locke met S. Banerjee, secretary in the Department of Atomic Energy, and S.K. Jain, chairman of the Nuclear Power Corp of India, to discuss various aspects of the US-India civil nuclear cooperation.

The meeting was also attended by US civil nuclear companies.

“The US is committed to greater bilateral commercial collaboration and developing a strategic partnership with India, as evidenced by the steps we have take to expand defense and high-technology trade and implementing the export control reforms,” Locke pointed out.

He said that in his talks with Indian officials and economic leaders he repeatedly stressed how continued market openings the US desired in India would ultimately bring tremendous benefits to both countries.

In the afternoon, Locke meet Reserve Bank of India governor D. Subbarao.

In the national capital, Locke met Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Defence Minister A.K. Antony.

Locke took the opportunity to raise long-standing and emerging issues including market access barriers and intellectually property protection that US companies face in the Indian market.

In Bangalore, Locke highlighted the importance of the aerospace sector to the US-India trade relationship and met high-level CEOs including Tata Group chairman Ratan N. Tata.

Between 2002-2009, US goods exports to India quadrupled, growing from $4.1 billion to more than $16.4 billion.

In January-November 2010, US merchandise exports to India totaled $17.6 billion, up 17 percent from the same period in 2009.

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