Farewell for Mr. John Fleming, Principal Commercial Officer, U.S. Consulate General Chennai 27th June 2017

AMCHAM’s Karnataka Chapter bid farewell to the outgoing Commercial Consul, Mr. John Fleming on June 27th, 2017. He thanked AMCHAM Karnataka for working closely with the U.S. Commercial Services and hoped it would continue. On the occasion, Mr. Fleming presented a Certificate of Appreciation to the AMCHAM Karnataka Chapter for being a partner in significantly advancing U.S. commercial interests throughout South India. Mr. Paresh Shah, Vice Chairman – Karnataka Chapter, AMCHAM and Senior Vice President and General Manager, Syniverse Technologies Services India Pvt. Ltd., thanked Mr. Fleming for the appreciation and reiterated AMCHAM Karnataka’s support to the Consulate. Also present on the occasion were Mr. Naresh Shah, President, Hewlett Packard India Software Operation Pvt. Ltd., Mr. Atul Ujagar, Country Director – Nike Sourcing India Ltd. and Ms. Manjushree Phookan, Office Director, U.S. Commercial Services.

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.

Talk by Dr. Mammen Chandy, Director Tata Medical Center on Cancer – Its Spread, Awareness, Control and Cure 26th June 2017

On 26th June 2017, AMCHAM’s Eastern Region, in association with PwC India, organized a session on – ‘Cancer – Its Spread, Awareness, Control.’ Dr. Mammen Chandy, Director of Tata Medical Center, Kolkata, was the Chief Guest. Dr. Chandy has been a pioneer in developing the field of hematology and bone marrow transplantation in India. His special interests include aplastic anemia, thalassemia, acute leukemia and stem cell transplantation. In his remarks, Dr. Chandy said that cancer is alarmingly growing all over the world and possibly at a higher rate in the Eastern part of India. In this fast paced, stressful life that many lead now days, people are often affected by cancer. It is imperative for people to know how to prevent cancer or detect it early. Dr. Chandy spoke about the early signs of cancer, symptoms, types of cancer, and why it is important to go for regular health check-ups. He shared detailed information on how to help prevent cancer by making small lifestyle changes.

Mr. Avijit Mukherjee, Regional Managing Partner, PwC East, gave the welcome address, closing remarks and vote of thanks. Mr. K.P. Sengupta, Immediate Past Chairman and Co-Chairman Data Core Systems, gave an introduction and remarks.

The interactive session was extremely proactive and the audience raised several queries during the Q&A regarding radiation, whether an unbalanced lifestyle can lead to cancer, what to do if someone detects early signs of cancer and the effectiveness of cord blood preservation. Dr. Chandy responded to the queries with attention and care.

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.

Annual Door Knock to Washington D.C. 2017 25th – 28th June 2017

The annual AMCHAM India door knock delegation to Washington D.C. was led by AMCHAM’s Chairman, Mr. Pratyush Kumar, President, Boeing India, from 25th – 28th June 2017, to coincide with Prime Minister Modi’s visit to D.C. The main purpose of the door knock was to inform and sensitize U.S. policy-makers on issues impacting U.S. investments in India. The delegation interacted with many of the important players in the economic relationship and other key decision-makers.

This year, AMCHAM, with knowledge partner KPMG in India, published The India – U.S. Dynamic – Better Together, a document to leave behind with U.S. government officials during the door knock. The document provided an industry perspective on India’s economy, the U.S. – India dynamic and highlights some of the key industry related challenges faced by U.S. companies operating in India.

Some of the main points of discussion included:

  • Strides in the U.S. – India defense partnership
  • Common issues in security
  • Technology transfer
  • ‘Make in India’ vs ‘Make in America’
  • Implementation of GST in India
  • Price controls for medical devices
  • Concerns about patient access and innovation
  • Increased FDI inflows
  • Pros and cons of the U.S. – India CEO Forum
  • Readout on the Prime Minister Modi meeting with President Trump
  • Trade deficit report
  • Re-thinking the U.S. – India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue
  • Intellectual property rights
  • Trade Policy Forum to address market access concerns
  • Reverse trade missions for smart cities
  • USTDA’s Global Procurement Initiative
  •   Global Entrepreneurship Summit

On Monday 26th June, the door knock began with a roundtable hosted by CSIS with think tank policy leaders in the U.S. – India partnership. Some of the participants in the discussion included Mr. Rick Rossow, Wadhwani Chair in U.S. India Policy Studies, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Ambassador Teresita Schaffer, Brookings Institute, Mr. Sadanand Dhume, American Enterprise Institute, Ms. Tanvi Madan, Brookings Institute, Mr. Irfan Nooruddin, Georgetown University, Ms. Emily Paragamian, Georgetown University, among others.

The delegation met with Ambassador Thomas Shannon, Under Secretary for Political Affairs, U.S. Department of State. Later, the delegation proceeded to the Pentagon for a meeting with Mr. David Helvey, Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Bureau of Asian and Pacific Security Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Ms. Cara Abercrombie, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs. The final meeting for the day was with Representative Ami Bera (D-CA). In the evening the delegation dinner was hosted by Dell.

On Tuesday 27th June, the delegation met with Representative George Holding (R-NC), Co-Chair of the House India Caucus. The group attended the U.S. – India Business Council’s 42nd Leadership Summit where the Honorable Mike Pence, Vice President of the United States delivered the keynote address. Other featured speakers included H.E. Ambassador Navtej Sarna, Ambassador of India to the U.S., Representative Pete Sessions (R-TX), Representative George Holding (R-NC), Co-Chair U.S.-India House Caucus and Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Co-Chair U.S.-India House Caucus. Post lunch, the delegation met with Representative Judy Chu (D-CA). The day concluded with a reception hosted by AMCHAM’s Chairman at The Boeing Company in Arlington, VA.

On Wednesday morning, 28th June, the delegation met with Ms. Diane Farrell, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia, U.S. Department of Commerce. From the Office of South Asia, Mr. Jed Diemond, Deputy Director, Ms. Megan Hyndman, International Trade Specialist, Mr. Erol Yesin, International Trade Specialist, Ms. Noor Sclafani, Mr. Jonathan Goldberg, International Trade Specialist and Ms. Bhavna Vishwakarma, Commercial Specialist, U.S. Embassy, joined the meeting. Next, the delegation split up and some attended a meeting with Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) while others met with Mr. Charles Hall, Acting Chairman, Ex-Im Bank. Later, the group met with Mr. Mark Linscott, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for South and Central Asian Affairs, along with Ms. Tanya Menchi, Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for South and Central Asia and Mr. Brendan Lynch, Director for India, USTR.

The delegation proceeded to the USTDA office in Arlington, VA to meet with Ms. Enoh Ebong, Acting Director, United States Trade and Development Agency. Mr. Henry Steingass, Regional Director, South and Southeast Asia, Ms. Heather Lanigan, Country Manager for South Asia and Ms. Alissa Lee, Country Manager, South Asia, also joined the meeting. Next the group went to the Embassy of India to meet with Ambassador Navtej Sarna, Indian Ambassador to the U.S. and Mr. Santosh Jha, DCM Designate, Indian Embassy. For a meeting with the Co-Chair of the Senate India Caucus, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), the delegation went to the Capitol. The door knock concluded on Wednesday evening with a meeting at the White House with Ms. Anjana Modi, Director for India and the Subcontinent, National Security Council.

AMCHAM India Door Knock Delegation 2017

 

  • Mr. Pratyush Kumar, President, Boeing India
  • Ms. Kaku Nakhate, President & Country Head – India, Bank of America
  • Mr. Phil Shaw, Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin India
  • Ms. Abby Pratt, Vice President, AdvaMed – Advanced Medical Technology Association
  • Mr. Sukanti Ghosh, Managing Director – India, APCO Worldwide
  • Mr. Neal Montour, Senior Vice President – Corporate Operations, Belcan LLC
  • Dr. Ravi Bhatkal, Managing Director, India, MacDermid Performance Solutions, Cookson India Private Limited
  • Mr. Arijit Sen, Director Global Government Relations and Public Policy, Dell Inc.
  • Ms. Lisa Schroeter, Global Director of Trade & Investment Policy, The Dow Chemical Company
  • Ms. Tiffany McCullen Atwell, Director of International Government Affairs, Dupont
  • Mr. Naveen Aggarwal, Partner, COO – Tax, India – U.S. Corridor Leader, KPMG in India
  • Mr. Benjamin Schwartz, Director for Defense and Aerospace, U.S. – India Business Council
  • Ms. Ranjana Khanna, Director General CEO, AMCHAM India
  • Ms. Valerie Swope, Program Coordinator, AMCHAM India

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.

Breakfast Meeting: Smart Business Infrastructure – Cyber Security in the Digital Age 23rd June 2017

AMCHAM’s Tamil Nadu Chapter hosted a breakfast meeting on smart business infrastructure in the digital age on June 23rd, 2017 at Hotel Westin Velachery. Mr. R. Ramkumar, Chairman – Tamil Nadu Chapter, AMCHAM, chaired the meeting. The featured guest speaker was Mr. Bithal Bhardwaj, Chief Information Security Officer, GE Africa and South Asia. While welcoming members to the breakfast meeting in June, Mr. Ramkumar emphasized that with connected networking being the order of the day and the government working towards a digital India, awareness on cyber security has come to the forefront. He said that there are two kinds of companies – one that knows that it has been compromised and the other which does not.

Mr. Bithal Bhardwaj made a short presentation and said that he would be focusing on the industrial and digital security risks, which according to him, are the foremost risks that business leaders should be aware of. He said concerns that the security of the physical infrastructure are overblown, it’s not particularly encouraging, although there are signs that awareness of the issue is rising. Mr. Bithal said that in operations technology (OT) the manufacturing process control systems, which are used in utilities, healthcare, transportation, oil and gas, chemical production, among other industries, use systems which are increasingly linked to computers and networks and therefore particularly vulnerable. A simple innocuous device like a pen drive brought in by a person intent on sabotaging the entire process control network can insert the pen drive into the USB port of a computer in the control system and wreak havoc.

Mr. Bithal gave new age definitions for terms used in today’s connected world:

  • Manufacturing plants – they are the cash generators and are now connected over the internet
  • Data – is everywhere and more meaningful, can be used for a variety of needs
  • Cloud – trust is exercised more than ever
  • Technology – fast evolving with increasing mobility all leading to a greater cyber risk
  • Cyber physical – malicious attacks on machines, can break into controls via the internet to open sluice gates when they should not be opened
  • New age companies like Amazon, Facebook, Uber, Google etc can make sense of the voluminous data they gather from their customers

Warning bells in case of cyberattacks include:

  • Nation states – compromising critical infrastructure at a fraction of the cost
  • Insider threat – start up boom, early career launches, surveillance and easy availability of broadcast tools
  • Hacktivism – extreme nationalism and anti-establishment sentiment across the globe
  • Cyber-crime – growth fueled by digital currency
  • Ransomware – Wannacry, a $100 billion industry

There needs to be a paradigm shift in the role of cybersecurity personnel where the focus is to protect manufacturing facilities and other company owned assets. This is important because cyber physical is becoming more rampant often violent and the intention is to steal data and then monetize it or freeze data on the hard disk and then monetize it.

The key takeaways from the meeting were:

  • OT control systems are being connected to the internet or mobile devices, exposing them to risk they were never designed to protect against.
  • A utility worker may set up a wireless access point at a transformer to connect to the company network, for example. This could happen in the case of a dam where the sluice gates can be opened remotely or in the case of a water utility, sewage can be mixed into the drinking water pipelines.
  • Without the right security in place, such as encryption leaves this piece of grid infrastructure or utility system exposed.
  • Industrial companies are also showing more willingness to disclose cyberattacks than a few years ago, which is generally considered good for raising awareness of cybercrime. The reality is that people are aware there is risk in that (control system) space and it is not necessary to spend a lot of time convincing people about risks involved.
  • A malicious attack in a process controlled industrial establishment is the top “threat vector” of concern. The others are internal threats, external threats from hacking activists or nation states, and phishing scams.
    The equipment that are of most concern from attacks are computers and network gear that connect to controllers of industrial systems.
  • Physical security on the periphery alone will not reduce the risks and an industry which uses OT control systems should have layered controls, an architecture where security and monitoring are embedded into all levels of a network, rather than only the perimeter. Keeping the systems updated will also improve security.

In support of our shared goal to promote an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable internet that fosters innovation and serves as a tool of economic and social development, AMCHAM members need to increase cooperation in the areas of cyber security, cyber defense, international security in cyberspace, be proactive on law enforcement responses to cybercrime and to strengthen our collaboration on cyber issues in relevant national and international fora. In Chennai, AMCHAM members are encouraged to share best practices amongst the Information Security Officers of member companies.

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.

Conference Call of the Sub-Group on GST 21st June 2017

A sub-group has been set up by AMCHAM’s Tax, Tariff and Regulatory Affairs Committee under the chairmanship of Mr. Atul Gupta, Senior Director, Deloitte Haskins and Sells LLP, to discuss and analyze issues relating to GST and decide the way forward. The first conference all with the sub-group was held on 21st June. It was decided that the sub-group should have a monthly call. The next call would be held in the third week of July. Before the call, members would be requested to send their specific concerns and issues that they were facing under GST law in advance so that the members of the sub-group could deliberate on those issues in the proposed July meeting.

The date and agenda for an AMCHAM event on GST with senior GST officials was also discussed. Members decided that this event should be held in the second or third week of August 2017 and Government officials would be invited. At this event, there could be presentations by industry, consulting companies and government. Members pointed out that Anti-Profiteering Rules were important but the methodology and the mechanism for computation were not clear. In absence of any clear guidelines, price fixation of goods post July 1 is a formidable challenge for companies. Therefore, this was one issue on which AMCHAM should make a representation to the government asap. Another issue raised was in regards to eligibility of availing input credit on transition stocks basis a credit transfer document (CTD) be extended to all goods rather than goods having a value of more than Rs. 25,000. It was decided that AMCHAM would request for speedy release of guidelines for computation under Anti-Profiteering Rules and also in regards to extending the eligibility of availing input credit basis CTD for all goods, irrespective of value of the goods. Accordingly, a representation has been made to the Finance Minister, Revenue Secretary, and Chairman, CBEC.

AMCHAM Representation On Goods and Services Tax

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.

Farewell Lunch in Honour of Mr. Thomas L Vajda, Consul General, U.S. Consulate General Mumbai 21st June 2017

AMCHAM India, in partnership with IACC and USIIC, organized a farewell lunch to bid adieu to Consul General Mr. Thomas (Tom) L. Vajda, U.S. Consulate General Mumbai on Wednesday, 21st June 2017 in Mumbai. The afternoon commenced with a warm welcome by Ms. Surabhi Wahal, Regional Director – Western Region, AMCHAM India. Leaders of each partner organizations – Mr. Mahesh Krishnamurti, Chairman – Western Region, AMCHAM and Managing Director, RGP India; Mr. Sunder Advani, President, IACC Western Region and Dr. V. Rangaraj, Founder Chairman, USIIC, addressed U.S. Consul General Tom Vajda while speaking of the great regard they hold for his dynamic, ambitious and consummate leadership. This was followed by the key note address by Consul General Vajda who expressed his utmost gratitude to AMCHAM India and the partner organizations, as well as his colleagues at the U.S. Consulate, Mumbai for the valuable support and co-operation bestowed on him through his tenure in Mumbai. In his address CG Vajda also highlighted on researched numbers of the remarkable growth and impact seen in various dimensions of industries in the arena of the U.S. India partnership. Consul General Vajda was then felicitated with a token of appreciation and a bouquet by the 3 organizations.

Industry champions Ms. Kaku Nakhate, Member – National Executive Board, AMCHAM India and Country Head, Bank of America; Ms. Sangeeta Pendurkar, Managing Director, Kellogg India Private Limited; Mr. Prashant Pansare, Managing Director, Inteliment Technologies (India) Pvt.Ltd.; Dr. L. S. Kanodia, Chairman, Datamatics Group; Mr. C. Venkataramana, Managing Director, Sunil HiTech India Infra Pvt.Ltd. and Mr. M Jagannath Rai, Managing Director, Titan Sea & Air Services Pvt. Ltd., shared interesting and heartwarming insights on their personal experiences of working with Consul General Vajda.

A video album of photographs of CG Vajda’s time in India took the participants down memory lane to glimpses of his remarkable contributions across all domains over the past three years. The event concluded with a vote of thanks by Ms. Ranjana Khanna, Director General CEO, AMCHAM India, followed by a networking lunch. The event was powered by Lubrizol Advanced Materials India 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.