India offers tremendous business opportunities to the US in various sectors such as manufacturing and the COVID-19 pandemic has presented a unique opportunity to the country to work with America to build resilient and reliable supply chains that will have the ability to weather future shocks, eminent speakers told a virtual forum ahead of the India Subcontracting Expo. The India Subcontracting Expo 2021 focusing on the North American region is scheduled to be held February 16-19 virtually. The expo will bring together exhibitors from India and buyers from Canada, Mexico and the US. Ahead of the expo, Indian government officials, diplomats and industry leaders highlighted business opportunities that the expo will present for both the US and India in areas of trade and investment and help boost economic ties during a curtain raiser event organised Monday by the Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) of India.
Joint Secretary (EP-Engg.) in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Srikar K Reddy said at the curtain raiser event that the global economy remained virtually stalled due to economic lockdowns imposed across nations to combat the pandemic and as nations begin the process of re-opening their economies, restoration to pre-COVID stage is likely to take some more time. He said India has emerged as one of the most promising economies for developed regions, especially in terms of trade and investment. He said initiatives introduced by the Narendra Modi government under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan’ are attracting attention of nations for trade and investment opportunities in India. He added that India offers tremendous business opportunities in various sectors, especially in manufacturing to North America. Reddy said a trade show with North America in the strategically important segment of subcontracting is very timely and will further promote Indian engineering businesses amid the pandemic. I strongly believe that this expo will surely be mutually beneficial for both India and North America, and will be helpful for Indian engineering, especially the MSMEs to find new and sustainable businesses, he said, according to a statement. Manoj Mohapatra, Minister (Commerce) at the Embassy of India in Washington DC said trade, investment and economic cooperation forms an important pillar of the India-US partnership. He added that New Delhi and Washington are extensively engaging with each other to conclude a trade package, which will create growth opportunities for Indian and US businesses. Mohapatra said at the virtual curtain raiser that COVID-19 has presented India with a rare and unique opportunity to work with the US to build resilient, reliable, and trustworthy supply chains, which will have the ability to weather future shocks. He highlighted that US was India’s largest engineering goods export market in 2019 with 6.4 billion dollars of exports. The goods include products such as iron and steel articles, auto components and electrical machinery. Stressing that Indian exports have remained resilient despite the pandemic, he said that Indian exports in electrical machinery and parts thereof as well as automobiles and auto components have particularly shown strong growth in 2020.
Mohapatra added that this highlights that while there was a commensurate decline in US global imports, India is outperforming the competition. Indian exports registering a significant increase in this product group despite the pandemic indicates that India is finding its place in the global supply chains, particularly supply chains for advanced manufacturing. It is also indicative of the increased competitiveness of Indian exporters/products in these lines, he said. Mohapatra outlined advice to exporters including that they should diversify product base to cover products which have shown resiliency during the pandemic. This will reduce fluctuation in demand and ensure consistent income streams, he said. He added that American businesses appreciate transparency, and clear and timely communication. Indian exporters can tap the US market by keeping lines of communications always open for queries and follow-ups, he said. EEPC India Chairman Mahesh Desai said that North America is the largest destination for India’s merchandise as well as engineering exports and the pandemic has brought new opportunities across several segments of manufacturing to strengthen bilateral trade and investment relations with this region. Subcontracting, as a major part of the manufacturing sector, is likely to be one of the major beneficiaries. Continuous support from the embassies will be instrumental to ensure efficient exchange of resources so that the underlying potential can be exploited to the maximum possible extent, Desai said. Make in India 2.0 has been launched as an integral part of Atmanirbhar Bharat with a view to accelerate the process of converting India into a Global Manufacturing Hub’ Inviting leading global manufacturers to set up their production base in India will not only upgrade Indian manufacturing, but will also increase Indian overseas shipments, he said adding that the expo next month will further strengthen socio-economic ties between India and North America, especially in the areas of trade and investments.