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Off to India – On My First Trade Mission, Opportunities Abound

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Secretary Bryson will meet with senior Indian government officials to advocate and promote export and investment opportunities in America

Guest blog post by Commerce Secretary John Bryson

This weekend I am departing for India, where I will be leading a trade mission with 16 American companies. This will be my first trade mission and I am really looking forward to it. I will be meeting with senior level Indian government officials to advocate for U.S. export opportunities in India’s rapidly expanding infrastructure sector, and promote investment opportunities in America–both key priorities of President Obama and this Administration.

India’s growth over the last decade has resulted in increased demand for products and services from countries like the United States.  America’s exports to India have grown from less than $4 billion in 2001 to over $21 billion in 2011. Going forward, India is expected to spend over $1 trillion on infrastructure development over the next five years, and a growing consuming class could lead to increased demand for a range of consumer goods and services.

Among other things, this trade mission supports President Obama’s National Export Initiative goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014 to create more good-paying jobs. Last week, on the two year anniversary of the creation of the NEI, the Commerce Department released new data showing that jobs supported by U.S. exports increased by 1.2 million between 2009 and 2011, and the value of U.S. exports exceed $2.1 trillion for the first time in U.S. history.

In addition to advocating for these businesses and American exports, I will be raising the profile of SelectUSA, the first federal initiative to help drive investment to the United States to create American jobs. India is a fast-growing source of foreign direct investment into the United States. Indian companies employ tens of thousands of American workers in professional, technical, and scientific services – as well as other industries. For example, in September, Tata announced a joint venture for a $60 million manufacturing facility in New Jersey.  They will make products that help with pollution control.

I look forward to helping to facilitate win-win situations for both the U.S. and India.  If we are successful our futures will indeed be bright, our people will indeed be prosperous, and the global economy, indeed, will be much stronger.

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Secretary led missions overseas

It would be great to get enough advance notice to allow for state trade promotion offices to recruit firms for these missions. Will you provide a list of missions planned for the next year to the State International Developers Organization(SIDO)?

Upcoming Trade Missions

The upcoming trade missions are here: http://export.gov/trademissions/eg_main_023185.asp

Indo-US cooperation in housing.

If US export to India has export 4 billion to 21 billion in about ten years, it is hardly an achievement whe seen against the potential, which is signified by 1 trillion investment in infratructure alone in next five years. I would like to high light on low and middle class rural and urban housing even though housing is not included formally in infrastructure. US building material and construction companies, which are presumably passing through a phase of recession have boundless opportunity to set up production facilities for manufacturing facilities to produce eco-friendly products like prefabricated fly-ash based Aerated Autoclaved Concrete building elements in India. AAC is a matured business in USA. In India, it is still in introductory stage but fast gaining commercial acceptance because of the fiscal incentives to fly-ash utilisation, fast contracting burnt clay bricks and scarcity of housing and building stocks of all kinds and a sustained continuous demand of affordable housing in particular. Capacity of AAC technology to provide comfort because high insulation in extreme India climate, save energy in manufacturing process and during life time of buildings in temperature maintenance, provide safety because of it's high fire rating and reduce seismic loads because of it's low density make it a cost effective building product and technology in Indian conditions especially AAC manufacturing facilities are able to achieve high capacity utilisation, which would favourably divide the fixed cost. This is entirely possible given the high demand and decreasing availability of bricks and increasing cost of dense concrete with reinforcement. Only thing that one has to do is to provide soft loans to US AAC industry to eigther their surplus manufacturing capacity to India or export fresh AAC plants and equipments and open a line of credit devoted mass low and middle class housing projects in rural and urban area by routing the credit to ultimate users through housing boards and housing development authorities for to facilitate sale of dwelling units under hire puchase system.
I am not too sure if it is appropriate to discuss a specific technology or product. But I am neverthess doing this because I have analysed that India needs close to 500 AAC plants each costing about INR 20 Crores thus totalling US $ 2500 millions. This would create an industry with annual turn over of 2.55 US $ and direct profit of 382 million US$ immediately. In this projection, interest to be earned from capital outlay and loans to dwelling unit buyers and return of principle are not being included.
I would recommend that department of commerce undertakes a detailed feasibility study of AAC business with reference to availability of AAC technology in USA, surplus production capacity, availability of raw flyash and other raw material, cost of production and price in India in the context of cost of construction with conventional materials, loan repayment capacity of low and middle class house seekers in importants cities, towns and states.
Form a business development consisting of US manufacturers of AAC building elements and plants and machineries, Indian large business houses like, Aventha Group, Godrej, TATA, Power Sector Companies like NTPC, CESC, State Electricity Boards, Housing Boards, Urban Development Authorities, create awareness among them about this area of business potential, get their ideas and improve upon it and then sign an agreement with Government of India for comprehensive Indo-US collaboration and cooperation in housing and construction. Needless to say your trade mission in India and USAID can play a crucial role in the effort and develop a a high value business development model, which would not only be appropriate for India but other developing countries of world which have acute housing shortage and therefore are sustaned market for alternate eco-friendly, green and cost effective housing technology.

the U.S., India and the Knowledge Economy

Dear Secretary Bryson,
I too look forward to doing my small part to help facilitate win-win solutions for the mutual development of the knowledge-based economies of the United States and India. KnowledgeEconomy.com stands ready to partner with companies, universities and government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Commerce.
I had the pleasure of recently meeting Dr. Rahul Khullar, Commerce Secretary of India, at an event in Washington, DC entitled US-India Commercial Relationship: The Knowledge Economy. Dr. Khullar and Bob Hormats each demonstrated that they clearly understand the importance of the Knowledge Economy to the future of both the U.S. and India. If you and Dr. Khullar agree to encourage further development of the KnowledgeEconomy domains (.com/.net/.org/.in/ etc) and encourage companies such as Autodesk and Tata to get involved, it will be good for the economies of both countries.
Best regards, Calhoun "Reb" Thomas