Locke to lead US hi-tech trade mission to India

Lalit K Jha

Washington, Feb 3 (PTI) US Commerce Secretary Gary Lockewill land in New Delhi this Sunday at the head of a hi-techtrade mission focused on breaking down barriers for Americanbusinesses through meetings with top government and corporateofficials over the course of his six-day visit.

The trade mission, comprising 24 companies from 13states, is the first visit by an American Cabinet Secretary toIndia since US President Barack Obama came calling inNovember, 2010.

In addition to government and corporate officials, Lockewill also meet senior personnel of the Department of AtomicEnergy and Nuclear Power Corporation of India. Furthermore, hewill hold talks with the top bosses of ISRO -- which wasrecently removed by the US from a list of entities to bedenied access to sensitive technologies.

What is more, he is scheduled to pay a visit to thedabbawallas (tiffin caterers) of Mumbai.

The delegation, which also includes senior officials fromthe Export-Import Bank (EX-IM) and US Trade Development Agency(TDA), will make stops in New Delhi, Bangalore, and Mumbai.

Locke is expected to highlight export opportunities andefforts to break down tariff and non-tariff barriers for USbusinesses in the advanced industrial sector, including areaslike civil-nuclear trade, defence and security, civil aviationand information and communication technologies.

Locke accompanied Obama on his India visit in November,during which more than USD 10 billion worth of business dealswere inked between US companies and Indian private sector andgovernment entities, supporting 50,000 American jobs.

Last week, the Department of Commerce took the firststeps toward implementation of the export control policyinitiatives announced by Obama and Indian Prime MinisterManmohan Singh in November.

"It was a significant milestone that will reinforce theUS-India strategic partnership, strengthen globalnon-proliferation efforts and facilitate high technology tradeand cooperation," a Commerce Department release said.

"The mission will help build on the exporting success UScompanies had in 2010 -� up 17 per cent compared to the sameperiod in 2009," the press statement said.

The upcoming India visit will mark Locke''s second trademission as Commerce Secretary. In May, he led a clean energybusiness development mission to China and Indonesia.

The US Commerce Department said Locke will participate ina kick-off event with members of the business delegation onSunday in New Delhi.

The next day, he is scheduled to deliver a keynoteaddress at a luncheon hosted by the Confederation of IndianIndustry (CII).

On February 7, he is also scheduled to meet Commerce andIndustry Minister Anand Sharma, Civil Aviation MinisterVayalar Ravi and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman MontekSingh Ahluwalia.

From New Delhi, Locke and his team will travel toBangalore for a two-day, on February 8 and 9, where he willattend the Aero India show -- a major international militaryaviation trade show -- where the US pavilion will have itslargest presence to date and will be the largest foreignpresence at the show.

Locke will be joined by US Ambassador to India TimothyRoemer, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency''s Director,Vice Admiral Bill Landay III; and Andrew Shapiro, theAssistant Secretary of Political-Military Affairs at the USState Department.

He will also visit Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL),India''s premier aerospace manufacturing company, to seefirst-hand how US partnerships with HAL are contributing toIndia''s aviation industry and generating high value jobs inboth countries, the Commerce Department said.

On February 9, Locke will hold a town hall style eventwith students at the Indian Institute of Science, focused oninnovation and the knowledge economy and attend a bilateralmeeting with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Locke will then move to Mumbai, where he will deliverremarks at a luncheon hosted by the Federation of IndianChambers of Commerce and Industry on February 10.

He would also deliver a keynote address on the same dayat the National Association of Software and Service Companies(NASSCOM) India Leadership Forum 2011 and meet with IndianCEOs from the US-India CEO Forum.

On the last day of his India trip on February 11, Lockeis slated to visit Mumbai''s dabbawalas to learn about theirunique logistics operations to deliver home-cooked food tothousands of people daily, which has been cited as a model ofentrepreneurship and supply chain management at the grassrootslevel.

In addition, Locke will attend a bilateral meeting withReserve Bank of India Governor D Subbarao and attend a jointbilateral meeting with the Department of Atomic Energy and theNuclear Power Corporation of India.

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