Remarks of Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs John M. McCaslin at Access America

MADURAI: Good Morning! It is a real pleasure for me to have the opportunity to speak to you today.  I would particularly like to thank the Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry for hosting our first American Business Corner (ABCs) in India.  It has been almost two years since we have set up this ABC and we are delighted to be back to explore ways we can work together to grow business opportunities between Madurai and the United States.

While this is my first interaction with you today, I am aware that my team in Chennai has had a long standing relationship with your members.

I am very excited to be in your city for the first time given the prominence of Madurai as a “temple city”.  Infrastructure is a key element for an economy to function, and I’m happy to see that your city has already made great progress by having an International airport.

Today, I’d like to make a few brief remarks about trade in general between our two great countries and our initiatives in promoting U.S. trade to emerging Tier-2 cities like Madurai.

Trade between the U.S. and India is soon expected to cross the 100 billion U.S. dollar mark and commercial ties between our two countries are at an all-time high.  Given the sizes of our economies, we have enormous untapped potential, especially in the emerging Tier 2 cities across India.

One of the ways we hope to tap this potential is through our ABC program.  The program started in Madurai, but today, we have 12 ABCs throughout India.

The primary goal of these American Business Corners (ABCs) is to connect businesses not located in major metropolitan cities to US companies by engaging with local chambers of commerce and their members through events like today’s session.

The entire ABC and Access America concept is built on bringing together U.S companies with your members and the business community of Madurai.

But before we move on to the Access America program, I’d like to discuss one of my key priorities, and that’s helping Indian companies invest in the United States.  The U.S. remains the leading investor in India both in terms of projects and jobs generated.  While the total stock of FDI from India in the United States is still relatively small, its growth has been very high making India the 3rd fastest-growing source of FDI in the United States.  We see a lot of opportunity for Indian firms wishing to expand and invest in the U.S.

SelectUSA, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, leads the federal government effort to promote the United Sates as the premier global investment destination, and facilitates investment in the United States.

I understand that your members will be traveling to the U.S. to attend the InfoComm International trade show between June18-20 in Las Vegas in NV.  My office is looking forward to working with you on this International Buyer Program trade show. We can help you meet with pre-screened U.S. suppliers. As you may know, InfoComm is the largest professional audiovisual show in the world. InfoComm showcases everything from digital signage and content creation to projectors and lighting–all from the industry’s leading manufacturers.  Around 900 U.S. exhibitors are expected to participate, and InfoComm will give you the opportunity to explore tens of thousands of audiovisual products and services while offering more than 350 educational seminars, workshops and labs taught by world-renowned experts with a focus on technology, trends and best practices.  Mala Venkat from my office in Chennai, who is here, will be happy to provide more details about the show.

I’d like to also mention that we have an active CS India LinkedIn Group.  I encourage you all to become members of our group to learn more about our activities.

I want to close by thanking the senior President, President and all the members of the Chamber of Commerce for your hospitality and for choosing to partner with the US Commercial Service and supporting the American Business Corner concept.  We want to work with you to discuss ways to improve the program and find new ways to work together.

We are planning an ABC Conference in New Delhi in the coming months, and we hope you can participate.  I believe working together we can expand business opportunities for companies in Madurai and the United States.