Minnesota Governor leads a 73-member trade delegation to India

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Washington, Oct 17 (UNI) Saying it is crucial for Minnesota businesses to expand relationships with global trading partners, Governor Tim Pawlenty left today on a 10-day trade mission to India.

The Governor is leading a delegation of 73 Minnesota business leaders, government officials and media to explore trade and investment opportunities and connect with key Indian and US business organizations.

''Finding ways to sell more Minnesota products in countries with fast-growing economies and large populations is a key way to expand Minnesota 's economy,'' Governor Pawlenty said adding ''India is experiencing strong economic growth and Minnesota business can and should participate in these expanding opportunities. Our trade mission will help Minnesotans make connections that can develop into relationships.'' Before beginning his trip in India , the Governor will first stop in Shanghai , China to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Minnesota 's sister-state agreement with Shaanxi Province . The Governor's one-day visit will include an opening ceremony at China's only Best Buy store and the presentation of computer equipment donated by the company to Shaanxi school.

While in India October 20-27, the 73-member delegation will travel to New Delhi , Bangalore , and Mumbai for a series of market and industry presentations, networking events, roundtable discussions and one-on-one business matchmaking events with potential Indian customers, distributors and partners.

India's gross domestic product grew an average of 7 per cent per year between 1994 and 2004 and recently has tracked at nearly 9 per cent. US manufactured exports to India reached 6.8 billion dollars in 2005, an increase of 111 per cent since 2000. Minnesota 's manufactured exports to India grew 208 per cent to 85 million dollars over the same period.

''India is on track to become the world's second largest economy in the next 50 years,'' said Tony Lorusso, executive director of the Minnesota Trade Office, the state's official export-promotion agency. ''Indian companies have ambitious plans for expanding and diversifying manufacturing activities, particularly in the automobile, auto parts, metals, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and electronics industries, creating opportunities for Minnesota suppliers,'' he said.

Many other opportunities will come as India implements plans to improve the nation's infrastructure over the coming decade, Lorusso said. Over the next several years, India 's transportation, energy, environmental, health care, high-tech, and defense sectors are expected to undergo major overhaul, creating greater demand for a wide variety of products and professional services.

There is also strong potential for Indian investment in Minnesota. In 2005, Indian investors owned assets worth 1.36 billion dollars in the United States , up from 277 million dollars in 2002.

Indian-owned companies in Minnesota include Suzlon Wind Energy Corporation in Pipestone, Patni Computer Systems, Inc, Wipro Ltd, and Natural Stone, Inc Suzlon has been ranked as the fifth-leading wind turbine manufacturer in the world and its wind turbines are used at 12 wind park sites in southwestern Minnesota . Wipro was featured in Forbes Magazine's fabulous 50 Asian companies.

Governor Pawlenty will be accompanied by First Lady Mary Pawlenty. In addition to participating in business events on the mission, the First Lady will also devote her time to raise awareness of humanitarian and social causes in which Minnesotans are involved.

Some of the programs involve providing hope to Indian orphans, training and resources for the disabled and advancing healthcare for children.

State Sen Satveer Chaudhary, will also be in the governor's delegation. Chaudhary, a renowned spokesman for the Asian Indian community in Minnesota will explore expansions of the economic relationship.

''This is an amazing opportunity, not only for Minnesota businesses to find new markets, but for the people of our state and the people of India to foster a more productive friendship,'' said Sen Chaudhary, who has also promoted a sister-state agreement between Minnesota and the Indian state of Haryana, where his family is originally from.

Sen Chaudhary's parents emigrated to the US from India in the 1960s, before he was born. In 1996, when he was elected state representative, Chaudhary became the first Asian-American member of the Minnesota Legislature and only the fourth Asian Indian elected to a state legislature in the United States .


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