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Remarks by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross at the U.S.-India Commercial Dialogue


Thank you, Ambassador Juster, for being such a gracious host in my place. And thank you, everyone, for being engaged in the U.S.-India Commercial Dialogue.

While it is the private sector that drives growth, governments play an instrumental role in establishing and enforcing the rules of commerce. Our intent is to create an environment in which all of our companies, workers, and entrepreneurs can flourish.

Several promising areas have been identified to promote greater U.S.-India economic engagement in the coming year. Under our Commercial Dialogue work streams, I look forward to working with Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu and your team to ensure broader participation by the Government of India in the workshops sponsored by the American National Standards Institute and the Confederation of Indian Industry on standards.

We also want to expand the number of U.S. and Indian states that we feature this year under our U.S.-India State Spotlight Series. And we look forward to working with India’s Ministry of Tourism to expand trade in travel and tourism.

I am intent on having us develop a work plan to address the recommendations we received from the members of the U.S.-India CEO Forum.

We will continue this discussion with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in the coming weeks and months. Given the size of our economies, our bilateral trade potential is enormous. There is so much opportunity.

India is an incredibly innovative country. As the world’s oldest, largest, and continuous civilization, it is the home of calculus, trigonometry, and algebra — the basis of our high-tech economies. Zero in the number system was invented by an Indian, Aryabhata; as was the decimal system. Diamonds were mined first in India. India is the largest buyer of gold in the world. And even shampoo was invented there.

It is home of the longest dam, the Hirakud; and the highest bridge (in elevation), the Baily Bridge; it is home of the world’s largest postal service, the largest movie industry, and the largest employer: the Indian Railways. It has the world’s largest population of vegetarians, a growing trend everywhere. It is the largest democracy in the world, with the world’s largest number of voters.  And, it has the world’s fastest growing population of . . . millionaires.

There is a lot of good will between our nations. I hope that everyone in attendance today can leverage that good will — along with the momentum of this meeting — to work together on deepening our business relationships and improving access to markets. It is to everyone’s benefit. American companies are eager to be engaged in the Indian market, and we must find ways in which they can do so.

We look forward to working with Minister Prabhu and your team to create and promote greater dialogue between industry and government in these areas. Thank you all, again, for your participation and continued support of this process. I am truly saddened by the fact that I can’t be with you. And, Minister Prabhu, I look forward to meeting with you at our earliest convenience.