Top US CEOs commit to invest in India

Top US CEOs commit to invest in India

Modi had a closed-door meeting with top 20 US CEOs on June 26.

The Dollar Business Bureau 

The Indian Prime Minister who visited the US and met the American President Donald Trump on June 26, also had a closed-door meeting with 20 top US CEOs the very same day. Many CEOs, according to Mukesh Aghi, President of US India Business Council (USIBC) who spoke to the Indian media, reiterated their ‘commitment to investing in India a very large amount.’

‘Almost half a dozen of them made a very large dollar commitment,’ Aghi said, refusing to divulge the details of the amount and the names. The meeting which lasted for 90 minutes, ended on a positive, win-win note he said. 

The PM had responded favourably to all the questions that the CEOs raised, which revolved around defence, healthcare, digitisation, trade barriers and ease of doing business.

"(He was) definitely focused a lot on technology transfer. India is not just about investment, it is about being good to the rest of the world itself. So I think, I would say I walked away with a very very positive feeling," he said. 

Responding to a question if there could be a clash between Modi’s Make in India and Trump’s America First, Aghi said,  

"I think there’s no clash there....Make in India is focused on trying to create jobs there, whereas Trump’s policy of making America great again is creating jobs here."  

There were queries by the hospitality industry on the 28% tax on hotel rates or chocolates under the new Goods Services Tax structure.

"Those were brought up and he said we’ll look into that and try to see how we can address that," said the USIBC president.

There was no mention of  H-1B visas, IPR and the recent decision by the Indian government to cap the prices on stents he said.

"I think the issue of price cap did not come up, but he did talk about looking at Johnson & Johnson, saying let’s put a campaign together, especially for school or for girls, sanitary napkins as a joint partnership itself," Aghi said. 

According to Aghi, Modi appeared to be confident ahead of his first meeting with Trump.

"I think he feels very comfortable meeting with President Trump. He said that his last two conversations with the President were very positive and he’s looking forward to building this relationship with the president when he sees him," he said.

"We are looking at a long 10-year term (for) Prime Minister. They’re looking at a long-term investment coming through. So, I think the local populist agenda never did come up and I think the CEOs are still keen on India as a market, he said. 

With the Trump administration tightening up the H1-B visa program, Trump’s disagreement of India’s go-ahead with the Paris Climate Accord, India’s concerns on anti-immigration sentiments and its backlash on Indians in the US, it remains to be seen what steps both the leaders take in inching towards better trade ties and mutual agreements during this crucial meet.