Guest blog post by Scott Ermeti, Vice President, Marketing and International Business at Pelican Products .
Ed note: Pelican Products is a manufacturer of watertight protective cases, submersible flashlights and ATEX certified torches.
We are nearing the end of Secretary Locke’s weeklong “India High Tech Business Development Mission ” and by nearly all measures it has been a success for Pelican Products . As a mid-sized American manufacturer of high-performance protective cases & packaging solutions  and portable lighting equipment , it would have been very difficult for us to have received such a fine and rapid indoctrination to the Indian market elsewhere.
Multiple meetings and presentations have educated us on the enormous opportunities that exist here:
- The Indian “middle class” is made up of more than 300 million persons; larger than the entire U.S. population
- The Indian economy is forecasted to grow at a rate of 7-9% for the next five years.
- The Indian government is forecasted to spend:
- $50 billion dollars in Aerospace and Defense improvements in the next five years
- $1 trillion in infrastructure improvements such as roads, bridges, and airports in the next five years.
- Currently manufacturing makes up only 16% of Indian GDP, but the goal is to increase that percentage to 25% over the next 10 years.
Although deep, historic trade relationships with Russia and Israel exist and other countries such as France, UK, and China are hotly pursuing the opportunities here, Indian customers, both private & public, are warming to American suppliers in the Aerospace/Defense sector. One potential channel of entry for US companies is through India’s growing “Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises” (“MSME’s”). There is currently a proposal in front of the Indian government that would require 25% of all government procurement to come from these “MSMEs”. If this proposal is passed, Indian MSMEs will be looking for partnerships with foreign suppliers.
The US Commercial Service personnel have done an excellent job of facilitating group and one-on-one meetings with public and private sector decision makers and with Indian giants like Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (“HAL”). These meetings have given us first-hand insight into the opportunities that are available here and introductions to high-quality decision makers.
Pelican Products  has just opened its first field office in India (New Delhi) and my positive experience here this week has confirmed that we have made an excellent decision.