Guest blog post by Francisco J. Sánchez , Under Secretary for International Trade, International Trade Administration
There are amazing opportunities available to U.S. businesses in India.
That’s one of the main takeaways of my successful week-long trade mission  focusing on Indian port infrastructure. Case in point: the two-way trade between India and the U.S. grew to $58 billion in 2011, and this upward trend is expected to continue in 2012.
The ports trade mission that we just concluded today–a first of its kind in India–was especially successful. Representatives from 12 U.S. organizations joined me on the trip, where we visited three different cities to facilitate as many partnerships as possible. The trade mission participants included dredging companies, port security companies, scanning technology providers, infrastructure, and transportation and logistics companies. With them the Ports of Baltimore and San Diego also joined to partner with companies and ports in India.I am pleased to report that while in Ahmedabad, the Port of Baltimore signed a Memorandum of Understanding  (MOU) with the Port of Mundra that will facilitate maritime cooperation, exports and trade flows between the U.S. and India. This MOU is a perfect example of the U.S. and India working together to meet India’s infrastructure needs while supporting American jobs.
For U.S. seaports, sister port partnerships are an important tool for expanding trade links, trade routes, port marketing, and infrastructure development activities throughout the world. The Port of Baltimore’s new agreement with Mundra Port follows similar agreements with ports in Taiwan, Poland, China, Russia, Italy, Ghana, Egypt, The Netherlands, and France, illustrating Baltimore’s importance as an international trade port.
Throughout the trip, I also had the opportunity to discuss the president’s SelectUSA  initiative, which is housed in the International Trade Administration (ITA), to an audience of U.S. and Indian businesses and organizations. SelectUSA encourages, facilitates and accelerates business investment in the United States.
In many ways, America is an ideal place for businesses to invest. The United States offers many advantages as a location for business and investment such as a vast domestic market, a transparent legal system, and the most innovative companies in the world. And I encourage Indian investors to take a look at what we have to offer.
A final highlight of the trip was taking part in a ribbon cutting ceremony of ITA’s U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service’s new Trade Center  (TC), located in the new U.S. consulate in Mumbai. CS Mumbai is at the forefront of National Export Initiative efforts in India, and the new TC is expected to strengthen CS Mumbai’s ability to provide useful information to both American and Indian clients. I know that this office will be a valuable resource for U.S. companies looking to export to India.
This trade mission is also a preview of an infrastructure trade mission that Commerce Secretary John Bryson will be leading to Delhi, Jaipur, and Mumbai, March 25-30. It will be his first mission as Commerce Secretary, and many India companies and officials reported their excitement to continue to build partnerships between our countries.
Each Department of Commerce trade mission is an opportunity for new relationships and partnerships to be created. In turn, these create a foundation for new trading opportunities that support jobs right here at home.
For information about upcoming trade missions, please click here.