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USIBC and CII Launch Small/Medium Enterprise Initiative Bookmark and Share  
  Author Name : K Ramesh Babu Posted on : June-30-2010 Total Hits: 1710
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 Recognizing there is more to the U.S.-India commercial relationship than just the Fortune 500 companies investing in the major, well-known cities in India like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Chennai, the interactive discussion "Accelerating Inclusive Growth: The Future of the U.S.-India Commercial Relationship" was co-presented in Washington today by the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) and the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration (ITA). In remarks by Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, Francisco Sanchez, ITA unveiled its focus on developing engagement with India's Tier II cities. Simultaneously, the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC), together with partner organization CII, launched a fresh initiative to enlist SMEs into India's global value chain, as well as introduce U.S. companies to opportunities yet discovered in Tier II and Tier III cities throughout the Subcontinent.

"Companies like GE and Citi have been long-term players in India for more than 100 years," USIBC President Ron Somers said as he announced the initiative. "It is now important to reach out to smaller companies across the United States and help them find their place in the extraordinary opportunity unfolding in India. USIBC and CII will serve as guides to illuminate the pathway to India for SMEs - leading these companies to India's Tier II and Tier III cities where opportunities are plentiful. Conversely, and just as important, we will enlist SMEs from India to invest in America - in places where jobs and opportunities are needed most. This SME Initiative presents a "win-win" opportunity for both sides, and enriches the global value chain to mutual advantage," Somers said.

Echoing his sentiments, Kiran Pasricha, Deputy Director General, CII, noted "The next phase of growth in India-US bilateral economic relations will come from the SME sector. This platform will provide the much needed impetus."

While engaging the SME sector will be vital to generating wealth amongst a new class of entrepreneurs, Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Meera Shankar noted the heavy burden currently borne by India's largest cities, particularly as a young and enthusiastic population continues to migrate to where commercial opportunity is concentrated. 

Unveiling his focus on unlocking the energy of the private sector in India's Tier II cities, Under Secretary Sanchez noted the opportunity for the American private sector to contribute, saying "The Growth in Emerging Metropolitan Sectors initiative will support opportunities for trade and investment especially for small and medium-sized businesses, and it can lead to an India that is more self-reliant and increasingly self-assured and to an America that itself grows and prospers."

By targeting Tier II and Tier III cities in India for American investment, pressures on primary urban centers in India will be alleviated while introducing U.S. investment to new opportunities. The result will be inclusive growth - for both sides. There are 3.7 million manufacturers operating in the United States today. So far, only 27% of these manufacturers benefit from exports. The goal is to integrate more such American companies into India's global value chain, and vice versa, leveraging the U.S.-India commercial link - already surpassing $40 billion in two-way trade.

"With President Obama traveling to India in November, USIBC wishes to support this historic Presidential visit, helping new entrants from America to invest in India, supporting CII in their effort to enlist Indian companies to venture to the United States to make investments in America. The new USIBC-CII SME Initiative will be the conduit that strengthens our commercial ties," Somers said. The aim of the USIBC-CII SME Initiative is to enhance exports for both countries, generating jobs in both countries in smaller urban centers where jobs are most needed," the USIBC President said.

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