The row over land acquisition in Singur and the pullout of the Nano project by the Tatas might have dealt a blow to the image of West Bengal. The United States India Business Council (USIBC),which was scheduled to come to the state in September last year,cancelled its trip due to the instability.
At an interactive session on enhancing Indo-US business cooperation organised by the Bengal National Chamber of Commerce on Thursday,the US Consul-General in Kolkata,Beth Payne,said as much.
The USIBC had initially been very excited about coming to Kolkata. However,after the Singur imbroglio,a majority of the members of the trade mission cancelled the trip stating that if the Tatas could not do it then how can any US company come and invest, said Payne.
Some members of the trade delegation confirmed that it was the Singur imbroglio that compelled them to think twice before coming during that time, she added.
According to Payne,though it was difficult to state what each and every US company thought of,every company looks for an educated workforce,low attrition rates,low cost of living,a streamlined government along with a predictable political situation before investing in any state.
US companies look for stability and predictability in the state where they are planning to invest. Because if after heavy investment,the company cannot produce its products then the entire investment is lost. Tata,which comes from India may be comfortable taking the risk,but some US companies are not. However,the perception can change any time when the situation shows that many other companies are not only investing here but also gaining benefits, said the US Consul-General.
According to Payne,US is not always getting the right picture and she urged the business community to reflect the reality and if the reality is not good then to change it.
Stressing that the perception of all companies in USA are not the same,Payne,however,said with the economic crisis looming large there was a need for all countries to come together.
Despite the global meltdown,the prospects of initiating bilateral trade is high. We need to find solutions to fight the crisis and we need to work with all nations. US recession is placing challenges but India is expanding and is better placed than some other countries even in such times, Payne added.