The US has developed a special strategy to peg up Kerala as share in the burgeoning Indo-US trade, according to Nancy J. Powell, US Ambassador to India.
A business delegation will arrive here February next year, Powell said during a plenary session on the first day of the Emerging Kerala event here.
Bilateral trade between India and US has grown five-fold in recent times, touching $90 billion dollars last year.
It is expected to cross $100 billion this year, but the share of Kerala is very low. “We have developed a special strategy to set this right,” she said.
Addressing the audience, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, appreciated the Kerala model of development.
But this has since gone into history, he said, and added that the State needed to benchmark itself against other countries, rather than States.
“We are expecting an economic growth of over eight per cent, but Kerala should aim at 9-plus,” he said.
Earlier, in a country session on the UK, British High Commissioner to India Sir James Bevan asked Kerala to treat Britain as the first choice for partnership.
This because of the advantages it held in many specialised areas, ranging from raising capital investment to providing skilled manpower.
“Kerala is looking for investment and we are specialised in raising capital for investment.
“Kerala is looking for infrastructure support and urban planning and we do make roads and build towns across the world. Kerala is looking for growth in the manufacturing sector, and we are leaders in the sector. India wants to educate its people, and we have the top ten universities of the world in our country,” Sir James said.
A country session on ‘Doing business with USA’ saw speakers agreeing to a point that Kerala’s trade unions have become far less combative in recent times.
But a lingering perception about their militancy continued to leave a section of investors concerned about starting business in the state.
James Golsen and Michael Cathey of the US Consulate in Chennai informed that the US was trying to ease the process for getting financial aid from Export-Import Bank of India.
The US, though, has yet to implement its plans to issue Startup Visas, conceived to help smoother establishment of nascent firms in that country.
As for Japan, the East Asian country is keen on forging business collaborations with Kerala and India and has expressed its willingness to contribute to the economic growth of the state by sharing its abilities in infrastructure development.