Maryland, life sciences hub, keen to expand ties with India (Lead)

November 23rd, 2008 - 2:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Nov 23 (IANS) The life sciences hub of Maryland, abutting the capital city of Washington and home to some 50,000 Indian Americans, is keen to expand ties with India, particularly in trade and investment in cutting edge fields, says the state’s governor Martin O’Malley.”We believe that India presents Maryland with some of our greatest opportunities for developing new trade partnerships and attracting new direct investment across a variety of sectors,” O’Malley said in the keynote address at the 4th Annual Maryland-India Business Roundtable.

“Today, Maryland and India already are conducting a considerable amount of trade. We export products like electronics, pharmaceuticals and aircraft and aviation products, and we import hundreds of millions of dollars from India as well,” he said at the event in Greenbelt Saturday.

“The very good news is that our exports to India are growing,” said O’Malley noting, “In all of 2006, our exports to India totalled $103 million. By July of this year, we had already reached $113 million.”

Maryland, surrounding Washington on the south and west, is home to some 50,000 Indian-Americans. With the highest median household income of any state at $68,080 in 2007, Maryland is a life sciences hub with over 350 biotechnology firms, making it the third largest such cluster in the US.

Institutions and agencies located throughout Maryland include the University System of Maryland, The Johns Hopkins University, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Celera Genomics, Human Genome Sciences (HGS), the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Maryland also welcomed in July five Indian technology companies, which established pilot offices at the Rockville Innovation Centre - beating out New York, Virginia and New Jersey, O’Malley said.

“For both India and Maryland, the life sciences present a panoply of vast opportunity, both in terms of our ability to compete in an increasingly knowledge-based global economy,” O’Malley said.

They also provide a chance to “offer some moral leadership in our world, to develop and proliferate these cures, these treatments, these technologies which can heal both our own neighbours here at home and our global neighbours across a world that’s growing ever more flat and interdependent by the day”, he added.

“Because both Marylanders and Indians recognise that our greatness isn’t about how many smart bombs we can drop, we can continue to strengthen our ties with India and develop new opportunities to expand our partnerships in cutting edge fields like the life sciences and information technology,” O’Malley said.

Stressing the importance of strengthening ties with countries beyond national borders in order to compete in this global economy, O’Malley noted a number of Maryland counties have have organised delegations of business executives to China, India, Europe and South Korea.

To attract Indian companies to Maryland, the state plans to focus on industry sectors in which both Maryland and India are strong: biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and health care management, information technology and engineering services, and aerospace and defence.

India’s recent decision to allow foreign direct investment in the defence sector has created an ongoing modernization plan of its armed forces, and enormous new investment opportunities in the civil aviation sector, the governor’s office noted.

Maryland’s Department of Business and Economic Development plans to attend the AERO India Conference in February to help attract foreign direct investment and help Maryland businesses expand their business in India.

Founded in 2004, the Maryland-India Business Round Table Inc. (MIBRT) aims to foster cooperation and promote trade and investment between businesses operating in India and Maryland.

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