Article Written by: Manu Shah
Houston: The Indo American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston (IACCGH) played a key role in facilitating a trade delegation to India in April. The 30 member delegation led by Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Bob Pertierra of GHP also included IACCGH President Ashok Garg, Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia, Past President Sanjay Ramabhadran, Karun Sreerama of Asset Management Consultants, Bobby Singh of Isani Consultants L.P, business leaders and representatives from the Port of Houston Authority and the Houston Airport System.
Apart from several positive outcomes, the week-long mission to Mumbai and Delhi resulted in an MOU between IACCGH, GHP and IACC, India, to facilitate the exchange of information and promote partnerships between Houston and India. An inbound IACC, India delegation is expected to visit Houston in the first week of June, 2015.
Other highlights included a briefing by the U.S. Consul General, meetings with the Mayor of Mumbai and key business leaders in energy and engineering. The delegates also showcased investment opportunities in Houston to members of the IACC, Asia Society and World Trade Center in Mumbai.
The visit to New Delhi was marked by meetings with several high-level Government officials including ministers of Civil Aviation, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Commerce and HRD. An “Invest in Houston” seminar garnered a great deal of attention and interest. Several discussions ranging from opportunities in energy and medical to engineering and construction were held.
Members of the delegation also had an hour long meeting with the US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma and apprised him of the rich investment possibilities that exist between Houston and India. An invitation was extended to him to visit Houston by IACCGH President Ashok Garg and his office is working on possible dates for his visit.
Since its inception in 1999, IACCGH has been working with the GHP and the Mayor’s office to foster bilateral trade between India and Houston to impact economic growth, investments and job creation in Houston. It has hosted several inbound and outbound delegations, one of which resulted in Mahindra USA, the third largest tractor company in the world, expanding their facility in Harris County.
According to Bob Pertierra, Senior VP of Economic Development, GHP, “The timing of a Houston business delegation to India aligns well with the country’s efforts to open trade and investment opportunities with the U.S. and to establish greater economic ties between the two nations.”
IACCGH President Ashok Garg observed that “Recent estimates indicate the Indian GDP will grow at a rate of 8-9% in the coming years. This makes it an ideal place for businesses to grow, especially those that already have operations in India.
Mayor Parker acknowledged IACCGH and GHP for helping put the trade mission in place and believed that Houston “will continue to reap the benefits of their hard work well into the future as the relationships initiated this week develop further.” She also stated that this delegation “accomplished our goal of strengthening the already strong ties that exist between Houston and India.”
IACCGH Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia expressed his thanks to the Consul General of India to Houston, P. Harish for helping coordinate meetings with high ranking Indian officials for the delegation.
A highlight for the IACCGH leadership was reconnecting with former Consul Generals of India in Houston. They met with Ambassador S.M. Gavai in Mumbai, Ambassador Rinzing Wangdi in Delhi and Ambassador Skand Tayal who was present at the signing of the MOU in Delhi.
Houston and India are bound by extensive business, trade and cultural ties. It is home to over 100,000 Indo Americans and has more than 700 companies that do business with India. Trade between Houston and India totaled $4.7 billion in 2014. The Houston/Galveston Customs District ranks as India’s third largest U.S. gateway for international trade by value. India is sixth among Houston’s Asian trading partners and 16th among Houston’s trading partners worldwide.
The Greater Houston Partnership relased an additional article regarding the recent trade mission. Click here to read the article.