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India-U.S. Industry leaders renew vows for commercial ties

By TIOL News Service

NEW DELHI, DEC 02, 2023: PIYUSH Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, and Textiles and Ms. Gina Raimondo, U.S. Secretary of Commerce reviewed the India-U.S. CEO Forum virtually last night (30th November 2023).

Goyal highlighted the growing convergence of perspectives and strategic interests of the two nations, emphasizing the role of initiatives like the QUAD, IPEF, and I2U2 in fostering regional and global cooperation in critical and emerging sectors. He encouraged the industry to leverage platforms like the Semiconductor Supply Chain and Innovation Partnership, Innovation Handshake, India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor and Global Biofuels Alliance and explore collaborative opportunities. Additionally, Minister Goyal acknowledged the valuable contributions made by the Forum members which have guided the Government to undertake concrete reforms including doubling of export value threshold for courier customs clearance, inclusion of a separate chapter on e-commerce in Foreign Trade Policy, among others. He welcomed some of the industry led initiatives such as NIHIT (www.nihit.org), a nationwide capacity-building endeavor for small businesses, startups, and MSMEs and FIST (Framework for Integrity, Security and Trust).

Secretary Raimondo thanked Minister Goyal, the Co-chairs, and Forum members for their efforts over the past year. She underscored the profound impact of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the U.S. and President Biden's visit to India during the G20 summit, highlighting these events as milestones in strengthening bilateral ties. Additionally, she urged the CEO Forum to seize the current momentum and implement the pivotal recommendations outlined by the Forum members. Secretary Raimondo also announced the inclusion of four new members from the U.S. industry including Honeywell, Pfizer, Kyndryl, and Viasat as part of the CEO Forum.

The Forum, comprising of CEOs from leading Indian and U.S.-based companies, is co-chaired by Mr. N. Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons and Mr. James Taiclet, President and Chief Executive Officer, Lockheed Martin.

This marks the eighth convening of the Forum since its reconstitution in December 2014, and it represents the first review of the Forum initiatives' progress in the middle of the year. The Forum, which stands as an indispensable catalyst for economic cooperation, and a key advisory private sector body to India-US Commercial Dialogue, witnessed participation from 27 CEOs from both sides.

The session included a read-out of the progress update on recommendations and suggestions, delivered by the co-chairs of each of the various working groups focusing on Energy, Water and Environment, Infrastructure and Manufacturing, Aerospace and Defence, Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals, Entrepreneurship and Small Businesses, ICT and Digital Infrastructure, Financial Services, Trade and Investments.

As both sides are focused on closer engagement based on trust, following key areas emerged from the discussions:

- Supply Chain cooperation across pharma, semiconductors, critical minerals & energy

- Collaborative opportunities in green tech & scaling up manufacturing for clean tech

- Strengthening partnership in critical and emerging technologies

- Bilateral industry led skilling programs including STEM exchange

- Leveraging forum initiatives like NIHIT, Prakshepan and FIST to build bridges between startups and SMBs from both countries

Government representatives and CEOs from both sides reaffirmed their commitment towards efforts that will strengthen commercial and trade ties, laying the groundwork for concrete initiatives to be unveiled at the upcoming CEO Forum meeting in early 2024.


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