Good evening and thank you for joining us tonight in celebration of a successful Trade Winds Indo-Pacific Conference. It is a pleasure to see so many U.S. and Indian business leaders, colleagues, and friends. Hopefully, your interactions this evening will begin – or continue – the process of forming new business partnerships.
Thank you Secretary Ross and the U.S. Commercial Service team for organizing the Trade Winds program and bringing it to India. I would also like to thank our many partners and sponsors for their support, and give special recognition to our two Platinum Sponsors – the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Business Council for International Understanding.
The U.S.-India Relationship
As many of you know, I arrived in India as the U.S. Ambassador in November 2017. But I have actually been working on the U.S.-India relationship for close to 20 years. I have seen this relationship grow and evolve from the perspective of a diplomat, a technology executive, and an investor. In my view, this bilateral relationship is as broad, complex, and rich in substance as any bilateral relationship in the world today. It encompasses the entire spectrum of issues in international affairs. We work on defense, nuclear non-proliferation, counter-terrorism, trade, investment, energy, the environment, health, education, science and technology, agriculture, space, the oceans, and so much more. And, of course, the people-to-people relationship, which is the bedrock of U.S.-India ties, remains solid, forming both a strong foundation and a dynamic springboard for what out nations can do together on all levels.
Your presence here this week helps us expand the U.S.-India commercial relationship by bringing the economic strength of America to India. The United States is India’s best trading partner. We want to expand our trade relationship by encouraging India to reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers, which we believe will boost economic growth and employment prospects for both of our nations.
Hosting the Trade Winds Indo-Pacific conference in New Delhi reflects the great value we place on the U.S.-India relationship and the importance of India in the Indo-Pacific region. The strong participation by U.S. and Indian companies gives testimony to the commitment of our business communities to build and leverage partnerships to bring economic benefits and prosperity across the entire Indo-Pacific region.
The SelectUSA Global Summit
Let me briefly turn now to another area where our economic relationship is growing – and that is investments by Indian companies in the United States. In a fiercely competitive global market, the United States remains the number one destination in the world for foreign direct investment – because of our open markets, strong economic growth, highly-skilled workforce, light and stable regulatory environment, and low corporate tax rate. In short, we work very hard to attract foreign investment.
As one important part of that effort, Secretary Ross will host the SelectUSA Global Summit in Washington, D.C. on June 10-12. SelectUSA facilitates foreign direct investment by inviting companies from all over the world to explore in a single location the many investment opportunities and local incentives available across the entire United States. I look forward again to leading the Indian delegation to the SelectUSA Summit. We hope that some of you in this room will join us.
Introduce Secretary Wilbur Ross
Now, let me introduce our guest of honor, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur J. Ross. Secretary Ross is the principal voice in the Trump Administration for the business community. He ensures that U.S. entrepreneurs and companies have the tools they need to grow and to create jobs.
The Secretary is the former Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer of WL Ross & Co, LLC. He has restructured over $400 billion of assets in numerous industry sectors, and has over 55 years of experience in investment banking and private equity. He has served as the chairman or lead director of more than 100 companies, operating in more than 20 countries. International business has no greater champion than the Secretary.
Please join me in welcoming U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur J. Ross.