IACCGH Receives Praise for Strengthening US-India Partnership

By Seema Hakhu Kachru

IACCGH award winners with special guests and IACCGH officials.

HOUSTON: India is America’s ninth largest trading partner and holds a stock of almost $13 billion in foreign direct investment in the US, creating more than 70,000 jobs, a leading Indian-American international trade policy expert has said.
Speaking at the annual Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston (IACCGH) on Saturday, Arun Venkataraman, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets, praised the chamber for its role in strengthening the US-India partnership for 23 years.

Venkataraman was sworn in as the assistant secretary of commerce for global markets and director general of the US and Foreign Commercial Service for the International Trade Administration in April this year. He was appointed by President Joe Biden and confirmed by the US Senate on April 7 to lead the federal government’s efforts to promote exports abroad and attract inward investment.

Citing an example of the chamber’s role in bringing businesses to the USA, he said Mahindra USA, which made Houston its corporate headquarters for its farm tractor business, was a direct result of the trade delegation led by the IACCGH and supported by the US Commercial Service.

“For our part of the United States, US companies have invested $42 billion in foreign direct investment and are supporting the media in India,” he said.

“We have relaunched the CEO forum and are working to expand our US-India commercial ties, both of which will produce concrete outcomes to support greater commercial collaboration,” Venkataraman said.

India is the ninth largest trading partner of the US and holds a stock of almost $13 billion in foreign direct investment in America, creating more than 70,000 jobs, he said.

Noting that India has joined the diverse group of countries that are participating in the Indo-Pacific economic framework, he said it will support the even deeper integration between the US and India and the rest of the Indo-Pacific region.

“Looking ahead, we will continue to rely on the Indo-American Chamber to help us expand economic opportunities for all Americans. To deepen collaboration in the energy and tech sector, I will be working closely with CGI Houston, Aseem Mahajan, towards creating new opportunities for us and Indian firms,” he said.

“Our community can and should play a pivotal role, not only in seizing business opportunities overseas but continuing to build the foundation of strong commercial ties for the US-India relationship.

“This relationship will be a defining feature of the 21st century and the diaspora community and our commercial economy will be decisive in whether that relationship achieved its potential to do good for the world. We’re all counting on you to carry that forward and we look forward to continuing our partnership,” he said.

Twenty-three years of building relationships between Houston’s business community and India were celebrated in great style at the Hilton Americas-Houston during the IACCGH 2022 gala.

The gala was attended by Houston’s top industry leaders, elected federal and local officials and their representatives.
Lauding the role of IACCGH in boosting bilateral trade and advocacy, Consul General of India in Houston Aseem Mahajan, in his remarks, said, “India and the United States share a comprehensive global strategic partnership covering almost all areas of human endeavour, driven by shared democratic values, convergence of interests on a range of issues and people-to-people contacts”.

He said the bilateral trade and investments between both countries have deepened in recent years despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

There are over 2,000 US companies present in India and over 150 Indian companies in America and the number is growing rapidly which underlines the immense potential in partnership.

Harris County Mayor Sylvester Turner referred to the $14 billion trade that currently exists between India and Houston and said IACCGH has been instrumental in promoting economic engagement and facilitation of bilateral trade.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said that IACCGH has evolved into a vehicle of economic empowerment as Chamber ensures that “our region remains an economic engine of success by strengthening commerce between USA and India.”

Judge K P George, the highest ranking Indian-American in Texas, said, “IACCGH is a strong voice and asset for the Indo-American businesses facilitating commerce between the US and India to provide an American market for Indian products and vice versa”.

“Chamber has set a dynamic distinction during the challenging economic environment while standing at the forefront of creating opportunities for knowledge exchange collaboration and maximization of resources for your members,” George said.

Jagdip Ahluwalia – executive director and a major force behind the Chamber, who was recently recognised for being one of the Houston Business Journal’s 2022 Diversity Champions – said during his welcome speech that the chamber has come a long way since its inception in 1999.

“Now after two decades, it is instrumental in building bridges between India and Houston, boosting bilateral trade, economic growth, job creations and major investments, and is cited among the upper echelons of the US Small Business Administration as a model chamber,” he said.

“As we are hopefully coming out of the pandemic, I believe, we are well positioned to build on our successes and become even more of a force to reckon with in the next decade,” Ahluwalia said.

President Tarush Anand, whose term ends this year, offered an update on recent outstanding events and programmess that allow members to overcome challenges and seize opportunities presented by the new normal.4

He highlighted ‘NOW GEN’ initiative launched by Chamber this year, which is focused on engaging with empowering young professionals and business leaders. “I am excited about its potential and look forward to seeing it grow,” Anand said. Incoming President Rajiv Bhavsar was introduced at the gala.

IACCGH Gala is the annual fundraiser for the chamber that attracts over 700 attendees.

Credit: Press Trust of India