The India-U.S. CEO Forum was held on 14th July 2020, through a telephonic conference. This is the fifth time the Forum has been convened since its reconstitution in December 2014 by the Governments of India and the USA. The Forum is an effective platform to highlight key issues that affect business entities and to identify areas for closer collaboration for the mutual benefit of both economies.
The meeting was chaired jointly by Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce & Industry and Railways and on the US side by Mr. Wilbur Ross, US Secretary of Commerce. Senior government functionaries, including Dr. GuruprasadMohapatra, Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Mr. Taranjit Sandhu, the Indian Ambassador to the US, and Mr. Kenneth Juster, the US Ambassador to India participated in the meeting.
The CEO Forum, comprising of CEOs from leading Indian and US-based companies, is co-chaired by Mr. N. Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Sons and Mr. James Taiclet, President and Chief Executive Officer, Lockheed Martin. CEOs from both sides commended the two governments for implementing reforms and enacting policy directives in line with the recommendations that were made during the previous CEO forum meeting held at New Delhi in February 2019. A new set of reforms and policy recommendations deliberated jointly by CEO forum members, were presented at the meeting, to further boost bilateral investment opportunities across key sectors of the economy, including Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals, Aerospace &Defence, Infrastructure & Manufacturing, Entrepreneurship & Promoting Small Businesses, Energy, Water & Environment, ICT and Digital Infrastructure, Financial Services, Trade & Investments, among others.
Secretary Ross thanked Minister Goyal, the co-Chairs and CEO forum members for their participation and initiative in strengthening the bilateral relationship, particularly during the challenging times of the Covid19 pandemic, which is also an opportunity to bring the two nations closer through collaboration in the area of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and associated supply chains.
Minister Goyal reiterated the extraordinary momentum developed in the India-US bilateral ties, driven by strong shared interests in promoting global stability, security and economic prosperity. Heempasizedon the importance of small businesses in the economies of both the countries and the need to increase employment and skilling in the sector.He urged the forum to be the leaders in charting out a new path in a post-Covid world.
The US Co-Chair, Mr. Taiclet hoped that the extraordinary cooperation between the two countries during the Covid19 pandemic would continue in areas of building infrastructure, increasing bilateral investments, and generating jobs. He highlighted the areas of unrestricted foreign ownership in certain sectors, policy stability and predictability, timely dispute resolution, protection of intellectual property and continuing investment in infrastructure as some of the key focus areas.
The India Co-Chair, Mr. Chandrasekaran stressed the global efforts underway to rebalance global supply chains, due to both geopolitical and trade-related issues and welcomed the opportunity to partner with the US private sector and government to help support and facilitate a strong pivot to India. He further highlighted the need for a Free Trade Agreement as a natural progression and outcome of the deepening commercial engagement between the two countries,He also urged the US government to recognize the contribution of India’s human capital to the US economy, and the need for unhindered across-border mobility of such talent.
Ambassador Juster, brought the attention of the Forum to the vast untapped potential of the India-US commercial relationship, and the potential risk of inward-looking policies in a post-Covid world. He urged each working group in the Forum to offer a few policy level suggestions readily agreeable and actionable to both sides.
Ambassador Sandhuappreciated the crucial role played by the CEO Forum in shaping the India-US partnership by bringing in the private sector’s perspectives, with inputs that helped policymakers shape reforms.
The opening remarks were followed by the presentation of recommendations and suggestions by the co-chairs of each of the various working groups focusing on Healthcare& Pharmaceuticals, Aerospace &Defence, Infrastructure & Manufacturing, Entrepreneurship& Promoting Small Businesses, Energy, Water & Environment, ICT & Digital Infrastructure and Financial Services, Trade & Investment.
At the end of the read outs by the working group Co-Chairs, DPIIT Secretary Mohapatraremarked on the extraordinary India-US bilateral relationship that has grown from strength to strength on trade, investment, and connectivity.
Government representatives and CEOs from both sides expressed their commitment towards effortsthat benefit commerce and industry in both the countries. Minister Goyaland Secretary Ross expressed their resolve to work together to consider the recommendationsand enhance bilateral engagement in the post-Covid world order.