Remarks by Ambassador Harsh Vardhan Shringla at the Colorado-India Business Roundtable- 30 July 2019

Remarks by Ambassador Harsh Vardhan Shringla at the Colorado-India Business Roundtable- 30 July 2019

Remarks by Ambassador Harsh Vardhan Shringla at the Colorado-India
Business Roundtable- 30 July 2019

          I wish to acknowledge the presence of Governor of Colorado Hon’ble Jared Polis; President of the USIBC Ms. Nisha Biswal; Director of National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL) Martin Keller; Ms. Michelle Hadwinger, Director, Global Business Development, and other representatives of the Global Business Development, Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) of Colorado and Department of Commerce; and all business companies present here. I also would like to thank Hon’ble Governor for his warm words of welcome. I thank USIBC and OEDIT for hosting this business roundtable and providing an opportunity to interact with business representatives across various sectors, who are important contributors to the growth of Colorado economy.

2.     At the outset, I would also like to congratulate Hon’ble Governor Polis for the immediate impact that his governance has had on the state’s economy as since assuming office, the unemployment rate has come down from 3.7% from January 2019 to 3% in June 2019.

3.     We are meeting at a time when India-US relations, as a whole, have entered a new era of strategic convergence. These relations are not just based on our shared values but also the alignment of our vision for the future. I am happy to note that this alignment of vision exists in Colorado as well. As renewable energy is one of key priorities of Hon’ble Governor, India too has an ambitious goal in the field of renewable energy with Prime Minister Modi in 2015 setting a target of generating 175 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2022 out of which 75 GW has already been installed so far.

4.     A first of its kind energy dialogue between the state Government of Gujarat and Colorado to support cooperative energy collaboration, in the two internationally oriented states happened in September 2018. The Executive Director of the Colorado energy office laid the Colorado delegation to Gujarat. Participants from the Energy research community from Gujarat and their Colorado-based counterparts deliberated opportunities to collaborate on areas such as renewable energy integration, energy storage, utility business models and innovations, energy planning, including demand side management and electric mobility. An MoU between the Colorado energy office and GERMI to promote policy exchange on integration of renewable energy and other issues was signed.

5.     “Renewable energy” is an area where cooperation between India and the US can lead to a win-win situation where both sides accomplish their goals. The Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy will host the third iteration of its Global RE-invest expo from 31 October – 2 November 2019. I am happy to note that Governor Polis is participating at this event. Governor’s participation this year will build upon the progress set forth by the previous RE-invest expo in 2018 where a special session called the US-India Clean Energy Finance Programme highlighted the role of finance structures in the proliferation of renewable energy.

6.     India today is one of the fastest growing economies in the world consistently registering a growth rate of over 7%. It is the third largest economy in terms of purchasing power. It is also ranked as a top investment destination. Two-way investment between India and the US reached about $60 billion. The US is the 6th source of foreign investment in India. The booklet "India Surging Ahead 2019" shared with you earlier highlights the strides made by India across various sectors. India has improved its ranking on several global indices. It has jumped 65 places in 4 years to reach 77 on the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business ranking. In Global Innovation Index, it has reached 52nd rank. It is a testimony that the economic fundamentals of India continue to be strong, and global interest in India’s growth story remains on an upswing.

7.     While the growing bilateral trade between India and the US has reached $142 Billion in 2018 showing a 13% increase, the merchandise trade between Colorado and India (though relatively less) has also shown a strong growth trend by increasing over 17% in the first 5 months of 2019. [$105 million to $123 million]. Energy exports from the U.S. are playing an important role in our expanding bilateral trade. With a 500% growth from year 2015 when it was only $1 billion, it has grown to $6.5 billion in 2018. The trend continues in 2019 when it has grown to over $4 billion with an increase of 79% over the same period in 2018.

8.     I am happy to note that the Indian companies are contributing significantly to the economy of Colorado. For example, TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) expanding its operations in August 2018 by opening a new office in Denver and hiring more than 200 employees locally over the last five years is a reflection of TCS’ integration into Colorado’s economy.

9.     Indian companies are also an ideal example of how deeply they are embedded into Colorado’s community. For instance, TCS’ flagship goIT education program, which has been inspiring underserved youth to explore app development, design thinking and technology careers for the past two years in Colorado. Now in its third year, TCS and partner Kids2GLOW, a Colorado based youth STEAM program set outside of school and home, engaged 60+ middle school students in Boulder for a two-day app development camp. This is yet another example where India and Colorado’s vision for the future is aligned as education was also one of Governor Polis’ key priorities in the state’s development strategy.

10.     United States has more than 200,000 Indian students contributing the US economy in all various ways. More than 85% are in STEM area. More than 2,000 Indian students study in Denver area and I appeal you to utilize this wonderful talent by giving them the best possible opportunity to contribute to the development of Colorado.

11.     Denver has a sister-city arrangement with Chennai since 1984. We can certainly help in giving momentum to the initiative which people in these cities took 35 years ago. 

12.     Another Indian company, Adani group - a global integrated infrastructure energy and logistics player – has shown interest in some energy projects in Colorado.

13.     The ongoing State Spotlight Webinar series under the framework of the India-US Commercial Dialogue plays an important role in promoting business ties at state-to-state level. So far, four U.S. states of Michigan, Washington, Texas, and Kentucky and three Indian states, namely, Odisha, West Bengal and Maharashtra have featured since the launch of this series in August 2016. At these webinars, the respective states give a presentation on ease of doing business and their attractiveness in terms of incentives to prospective investors. The state of Colorado is likely to feature in one of the state spotlight webinar series later this year. I urge the participants to consider taking part in this webinar series.

14.     As the India-US bilateral trade is expected to reach $238 billion by 2025, the role of SME sector in India’s next stage of economic growth will be critical. The growth of SMEs in the digital marketplace presents an ideal opportunity for increased India-US cooperation. In this context, GlobalSoft 2020 - a one-stop B2B exhibition for the global IT industry to explore opportunities in the Indian SME digital marketplace – will be held in March 2020. We look forward to seeing some of you represented at this event. My colleagues will be happy to connect to its organizers, Electronics & Software Export Promotion Council, if you are interested to participate in this event.

15.     Prime Minister Modi, who in his second term has come back with a strong mandate, has always been committed to realizing India’s economic potential through strong reforms. The new budget proposal seeks to liberalize India’s FDI regime further, by allowing 100% FDI for Insurance intermediaries and increasing Statutory limit for FPI (foreign portfolio investment) in a company from 24% to a higher sectoral limit. It also eases local sourcing norms in single brand retail FDI.

16.     On pharma front, India is among the top suppliers of generic medicines to the US, helping the US to meet its requirements of affordable and quality healthcare, the story of US pharma companies is equally impressive with their presence in India for decades and becoming a vital part of the Indian healthcare fabric.

17.     Besides business, Denver is also an important tourism attraction and Indians are the second highest international tourists to visit the United States. Colorado must be having large footfall from Indian tourists travelling to USA. I am also happy to share with you that the spiritual Gu The largest mass meditation event “America Meditates” was conducted by the Indian spiritual Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at Denver on July 24, 2019. It was simultaneously held in 80 countries at 128 locations.

18.     US companies in Colorado can be a valuable partner in promoting trade and investment between the state of Colorado and India. Given our respective strengths and needs, both Colorado and India can benefit immensely from collaborating in energy, healthcare, and education, among other sectors.

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