Meeting with Visitors from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission 30th June 2016

AmCham members met with delegates from the U.S. China Commission (USCC) on June 30th in New Delhi. The delegation was led by Chairman, Dennis Shea (Sen. Mitch McConnell’s representative) and Vice Chairman Carolyn Bartholomew (Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s representative). Other delegates included Commissioner Peter Brookes, Commissioner Katherine Tobin, Policy Analyst Kristien Bergerson and Policy Analyst Katherine Koleski.

The commission heard from AmCham members about U.S. investments and the investment climate in India; the impact of economic reforms on U.S. companies; Indo-China competition for U.S. companies and the impact of China’s slowdown on the Indian economy. They also discussed matters around the growing population in India and its effects on attaining a strong economy in the near future. It was also discussed how the current government and technology related policies (aadhar, PM insurance yojana and PM pension yojana, LPG subsidies) were playing a positive role in shaping the economy and propelling India to be the next major player in the world stage.

AmCham members from UTC, IBM and Intel updated the group on why they have invested in India and how they were contributing to expand the U.S.-India economic engagement. Coca-cola and BD India members also discussed the serious competition faced by U.S. firms from Indian and Chinese competitors. While the parts were being made in India the technology and the IPR rights are vested with the U.S. for many products, hence the debate on whether FDI is really having a positive impact was also touched upon.

Lastly the delegation concluded with informing the participants that India was the last leg of their journey with previous stops being Taipei and China and hoped to carry the inputs received from AmCham fresh in their minds to present to congress. Participants were given a copy of the 2015 report by the Congress of the U.S. China Economic and Security Review Commission and the USCC 2015 Annual Report. Over 11 senior AmCham members participated and shared their views.

Membership

By joining AMCHAM India, you become part of an active and dynamic American business association with a membership base of more than 400 American companies in India. AMCHAM is an important voice for policy advocacy, a critical source for business intelligence, a vibrant platform for networking and expanding your business.

Meeting with Mr. Bratya Basu, Hon’ble Minister in Charge of Information & Technology & Electronic Department, Government West Bengal 30th June 2016

Mr. Bratya Basu, Hon’ble Minister in charge of Information & Technology & Electronic Department, Government West Bengal, had a meeting with AmCham Eastern Region members. The purpose of the meeting was for the Minister to understand from the American IT companies what was required to make West Bengal a leading investment destination and if the organizations were facing any difficulty working in the state.  The AmCham delegation was led by Mr. K.P. Sengupta, Chairman – Eastern Region, AmCham.  AmCham presented a position paper to the Minister which listed what the industry felt would assist attracting investment into West Bengal.  Some of the salient points were:

  • Working on issues such as safety, aesthetics, traffic management, zero noise pollution, ease of movement and parking, removal of over-head wires, introducing an internal transportation system, regulating street hawkers, improving the drainage, freeing up pavements for pedestrians.
  • Respond positively to potential investors requirements, extend the benefits of an SEZ to potential investors.  This would go a long way towards rapid growth of the industry.
  • Cable Landing Station at Haldia, the Minister was informed that AmCham had already submitted a position paper on this to the IT Department and would be happy to resubmit to enable this to be taken forward.

AmCham Eastern Region reiterated that it would be happy to work with the Government of West Bengal on the suggestions above and look forward to being a meaningful partner of the West Bengal Government in developing the IT/ITES industry in the state.

Membership

By joining AMCHAM India, you become part of an active and dynamic American business association with a membership base of more than 400 American companies in India. AMCHAM is an important voice for policy advocacy, a critical source for business intelligence, a vibrant platform for networking and expanding your business.

4th AMCHAM Healthcare Conference Steering Committee Meeting 29th June 2016

The committee met at the office of Phenomenex India and finalized the sessions and the panellists for the conference. After a lot of brainstorming, it was decided that the three sessions being looked into should be global harmonization, innovation and technology and skill development. These sessions will work around the main theme of “Harmonization of Healthcare within the Ecosystem.”

Membership

By joining AMCHAM India, you become part of an active and dynamic American business association with a membership base of more than 400 American companies in India. AMCHAM is an important voice for policy advocacy, a critical source for business intelligence, a vibrant platform for networking and expanding your business.

Smart City Core Committee Meeting 28th June 2016

The Smart City Core Committee held a meeting at the UTC office in Gurgaon. The meeting was chaired by the committee chair Mr. Jaijit Bhattacharya, Partner, KPMG, Infrastructure & Government Advisory Services, to discuss the outcome of the Prime Minister’s 25th June announcement of smart city mission implementation and launch of several smart city projects. Discussion points included the smart city visions shared via video link by the Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Rajasthan. A calendar of smart city engagements was finalized and circulated to all committee members.

Membership

By joining AMCHAM India, you become part of an active and dynamic American business association with a membership base of more than 400 American companies in India. AMCHAM is an important voice for policy advocacy, a critical source for business intelligence, a vibrant platform for networking and expanding your business.

Interactive Breakfast Meeting with Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs, Joseph M. Pomper 23rd June 2016

Today’s business travel – both domestic and international is on the increase as more and more business travelers take to the skies for business meetings. In the past, international business travel was restricted to senior management personnel, but now even junior executives have international business assignments that bring greater global mobility in the workforce. Obtaining a visa has therefore become a vital necessity to facilitate business across borders.

To gain a better understanding on the adjudication process at the U.S. Embassy and its Consulates and to interact with members of the global mobility teams from various member companies, a breakfast meeting was organized at the Hilton Chennai on 23rd June. The main guest speakers were Mr. Joseph M. Pomper, Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs, U.S. Embassy, New Delhi and Mr. Charles E. Luoma-Overstreet, Chief of the Consular Section, U.S. Consulate, Chennai.

Mr. Pomper began his address by saying that economic and people-to-people ties form a key pillar for the growing U.S.-India strategic partnership. Two-way trade and investment between the nations have reached new heights. The two largest democracies continue to expand existing cooperation and efforts as well as launch new initiatives to bring about mutual economic prosperity as well as to collaborate to address global challenges. He said that the U.S. and India were working on several partnership programs, some of which include commercial, trade, and investment partnerships, infrastructure and smart cities collaboration, and smart city development in Ajmer, Allahabad, and Visakhapatnam. Science, technology and health cooperation have continued to strengthen also.

Mr. Pomper recognized the growing academic and tourism links and said the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India issued more than 76,000 student visas in 2015. Indian students accounted for the second-largest group of foreign students in the United States in the 2014-2015 school year, with the number of students from India in the United States increasing by over 29% to a record high of nearly 133,000. Through the ‘Passport to India’ program, the U.S. government encourages American students to study abroad in India. Similarly, the implementation of the Global Entry Program will facilitate travel between the two countries.

Mr. Pomper explained that Consulates of the United States of America in India are facing a staff shortage in proportion to the number of visa applications, and people are advised to apply well in advance for visas. He added that, “In the last five years, the demand for visas has increased by 80%, while the staffing has remained static. While we have greatly improved efficiency, accommodating visa demand on this scale requires adequate staffing.” The average waiting time for getting a visa appointment is about four weeks now. The waiting time earlier used to be about a week or a week and half, according to Charles E. Luoma-Overstreet, Chief of the Consular Section, U.S. Consulate, Chennai. The consulate processes about 1,000 to 1,500 visas a day, he said. Mr. Luoma-Overstreet said Chennai was one of the busiest visa processing centres in India. Out of total of 1.1 million visa applications adjudicated in India last year, Chennai processed 2.8 lakh applications.

Mr. Pomper said, “Presently, we are striving to keep interview appointment waiting time within four weeks, though some posts are exceeding that during the busy summer season.” He added that anyone who had received U.S. visas earlier and have no other issues can make use of the interview waiver program. All applicants were advised to plan ahead and apply early.

Membership

By joining AMCHAM India, you become part of an active and dynamic American business association with a membership base of more than 400 American companies in India. AMCHAM is an important voice for policy advocacy, a critical source for business intelligence, a vibrant platform for networking and expanding your business.

Roundtable with Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra & Senior Representatives of the Government of Maharashtra 22nd June 2016

To promote U.S. investment in the state, in line with Chief Minister’s Make in Maharashtra initiative, AmCham India, in partnership with the U.S. Consulate in Mumbai, hosted an exclusive roundtable with the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Mr. Devendra Fadnavis, key officials of the Government of Maharashtra (GOM) and senior representatives of the U.S. government on Wednesday, 22nd June 2016 in Chakan, Pune. The event largely focused on the theme of Make in Maharashtra – Business Opportunities and State Government Support in Maharashtra.

The roundtable began with the opening remarks and welcome address by Ms. Deanna Abdeen, Acting Consul General, U.S. Consulate General Mumbai, and Ms. Surabhi Wahal, Regional Director – Western Region, AmCham.

Through a brief yet insightful keynote address, the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra Mr. Devendra Fadnavis presented an overview on the government’s focus areas and projects in the region.

It was followed by an interactive session between key stakeholders of the government and businesses moderated by Mr. Sukanti Ghosh, Chairman – Western Region, AmCham and Managing Director – India, APCO Worldwide India Pvt. Ltd. The roundtable concluded with a vote of thanks by Mr. Mahesh Krishnamurti, Co-Chair – Western Region, AmCham and Managing Director, Resources Global Professionals (I) Pvt. Ltd.

Membership

By joining AMCHAM India, you become part of an active and dynamic American business association with a membership base of more than 400 American companies in India. AMCHAM is an important voice for policy advocacy, a critical source for business intelligence, a vibrant platform for networking and expanding your business.