Vibrant Gujarat Summit: US looks at $41 bn investments in India over 3-4 yrs

Gujarat is top preferred location for ‘ease of doing business’, reveals most senior company executives.

Written by Lakshmi Ajay | Ahmedabad | Updated: January 12, 2015 3:31:29 pm
Narendra Modi, Vibrant Gujarat Summit, Modi Vibrant Gujarat summit Gandhinagar: Prime Minister, Narendra Modi with Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel, and Governor of Gujarat, O.P. Kohli and other dignitaries at Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2015 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat on Sunday. PTI Photo

The US business delegation attending the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit will be looking at a potential investment target of around $41 billion in India in the next 3-4 years. This was revealed in an informal survey done by the US India Business Council (USIBC), which is bringing one of the biggest US business delegations, comprising 127 individuals and 60 firms.

However, even as firms will be scouting for doing business in other states, Gujarat tops as the preferred location for ease of doing business, revealed most senior company executives in the survey.

“USIBC will bring the biggest delegation of US companies, three times the size of the one which came last year. The number that we have been talking about as a potential investment target in India is $41 billion, which has been identified by an informal sampling of our companies in the next 3-4 years, if the economic reforms that have been aspired to by the Prime Minister and by the government are fulfilled. We found that the ease of doing business in Gujarat has been rated high by business heads owing to it being a power-surplus state and the commitment of the government here to engage in ‘problem solving’ for investors. When I took an informal survey of our member companies, they said it is because of the ease of doing business and companies that have manufacturing plants in Gujarat say that they have generally received very good cooperation from the government for completing the projects on time and within budget,” said Diane Farrell, president (acting), US India Business Council (USIBC) in an exclusive interaction with The Indian Express.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend the Vibrant Gujarat summit in Gandhinagar. (Source: AP)

Farrell added that US firm Westinghouse Electric Company, which builds and operates approximately one half of the world’s operating nuclear plants, is attending the summit and will be looking at setting up a plant in the state. She said, “Among companies engaged in the defence sector that are part of the US delegation include Boeing, Lockheed, Textron and their senior executives like Graham Cable, VP (Project Development, Westinghouse), Pratyush Kumar, President of Boeing India and Ellen Lord, President & CEO of Textron Systems Corporation are expected. Apart from traditional technology companies like IBM and CISCO, others like Dow Chemicals, Ford, Abott, General Motors, Peabody Energy and Cairn Energy will be here with us.”

The business delegation hosted a dinner for US Ambassador to India Richard R Verma on Saturday.

“All company representatives from the delegation will also become familiar with the new CM of Gujarat while another group would also meet PM Modi and get to know the senior cabinet ministers and the delegation will try and get a ‘pan-India perspective’. A few smaller companies would be looking for partners for potential ventures in Gujarat and elsewhere. While during this business mission to Vibrant Gujarat, we do not have any immediate deliverables, yet this meeting is a recognition of the importance of Gujarat. It also to acknowledge the change in leadership here and the continuing relationship with the PM and his home state,” Diane added.

Arun Kumar, Director-General of the US & Foreign Commercial Service and Assistant Secretary for Global Markets, US Department of Commerce, who was in the city on Saturday, also underlined the need to scale up business ties between US and India during the summit.

“We are working on a number of things for the President’s (Obama) visit. Today, we have a two-way trade of about a hundred billion USD between India and the US, while it is 500 billion USD with China, so a lot needs to be done. We are at a state where the US and Indian government are working very hard on the commercial aspects of our dialogue, which is one of our oldest dialogues and we will continue to intensify those dialogues,” Kumar said.

Among US CEOs and senior executives at the seminar at the summit include Ajay Banga, chairman, US-India Business Council and President & CEO, MasterCard, Ellen Lord, CEO, Textron Systems, Dave Farr, CEO & Chairman, Emerson, Ed Monser, President and COO, Emerson, Jaspal Bindra, CEO Asia & Group Executive Director, Standard Chartered, Chris Hagedorn, Group Executive & Chief Development Officer, Peabody Energy, David Shcoch, Group V-P & President (Asia Pacific), Ford Motors, Claude Burcky, V-P, Abbott, Graham Cable, V-P (Project Development), Westinghouse, Niren Choudhary, Group President, Yum! Bra-nds, Kaku Nakhate, country head (India), Bank of America, Pratyush Kumar, President, Boeing India, Robert Feeser, Executive V-P, MeadWestvaco and Ahmad Chatila, President & CEO, Sun Edison.

On Day 1, about 30 MoUs signed

On the first day of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit 30-odd memorandum of understandings (MoUs) were signed which included a solar photovoltaic manufacturing cluster by Adani Enterprises Ltd costing about Rs 25,000 crore.

The solar PV manufacturing unit will be set up in a joint venture with US-based Sun Edision, and will be the largest, vertically integrated solar photovoltic manufacturing facility in India, stated AEL in a statement. Adani also signed an MoU with Australian energy major Woodside Energy for jointly exploring opportunities in sourcing of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), supply and purchase arrangement for India, LNG marketing, investment in upstream activities and others. The other major MoUs signed on Sunday include a Rs 7,900 crore investment promise by Welspun Group for an integrated steel manufacturing plant in the state and another Rs 5,500 crore MoU by Sintex Industries to manufacture plastics and niche products.

Welspun Renewables also signed two MoUs — 500 MW Wind & 600 MW Solar capacities — with Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam (GUVNL). These Rs 8,300 crore investment will be used to develop over 1 GW capacity in Gujarat.

Pradip Overseas also inked a Rs 3000 cr MoU for stetting up a speciality and fine chemicals industrial park at Rajkot, while Narmada Biochem Pvt Ltd will be investing Rs 5,200 crore in setting up a chemical fertilizer plant.

Among the investment promises made on Sunday, Reliance Industries announcement to invest Rs 100,000 crore in next 12-18 months in Gujarat was the biggest. This is the second consecutive edition of the Vibrant Gujarat summit when RIL has announced such a big investment. In 2013 edition, Mukesh Ambani had also promised to invest Rs 100,000 crore.

Kumarmangalam Birla also announced to invest about Rs 20,000 crore in Gujarat during his speech at the inauguration of the summit. The Rail Vikas Nigam Limited also inked an MoU for rail systems.

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