“New US-based companies, which are present in other metropolitan cities, are about come up in Kolkata. Sector V of Salt Lake, which is popularly called the Silicon Valley, will witness a surge of IT/ITeS in the near future,” said Craig Hall, Consul General of the US, during his address as key speaker at an interactive session titled ‘Keys to Growing US-India Commerce and Trade’.
Hall also promised to make use of the excellent work facilities and highly talented human resource
that Bengal has on offer. Principal Commercial Officer Jonathan ward was also present at the session.
The interactive session, which was held on Wednesday, stressed on the need for investment in Bengal and strengthening trade relations that already exist between India and the US.
With Bengal emerging as the one of the largest growing global investor communities, an increasing number of foreign investors are about to come to the city and invest, generating employment and enhancing economic growth.
The session – held in the conference hall of the Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry – is one of the many initiatives that are being taken by the state government to bring about a transformation in the entrepreneurial landscape of Bengal.
Many people have their hopes tied to a bigger and a better collaboration between the US and the East, specifically in terms of value and job creation.
Mainly focusing on economic growth and bilateral ties, Hemant Bangur, President of the chambers said: “Although the India-US bilateral cooperation ranges from trade and investment, high-technology, defence and security, IT/ITeS, pharmaceuticals, civil nuclear energy to precious stones, textiles, education, science and technology, agriculture, health, cyber security, space technology and applications, clean energy, environment, there are various other sectors where foreign companies are welcome to invest.
Hall and Ward also delved into the forthcoming Bengal Global Summit to be held on January 20 and 21. They said foreign investors from various sectors – such as city gas, mining, renewable energy and maritime – are looking forward to explore the opportunities available in Bengal and also extend the existing business towards the North-East if possible.
With the news of IT/ITeS coming up, Bangur also raised the issue of the approval of H1B visa applications.
The US government is believed to have received nearly 2,50,000 H1B visa applications for 2017, which raises eyebrows because it is much higher than what is limited to 65,000 a year.
Although the bar set acts as a hindrance, both the speakers were happy as well as apprehensive in this regard and have decided to propose a plan of expanding the limit welcoming skilled employees.
Apart from the entrepreneurial aspect, both the members of the Consul General cast light on the development of the tourism.
As Bengal proudly boasts of diverse landscapes across different regions, it was decided that initiatives to facilitate visits from the US and vice versa would soon be implemented.
However, airline tie-ups to launch direct flights between India and Washington would not be possible, confirmed Hall.
Measures that would be introduced to solve the issues faced by the Indian pharmaceuticals from the United States and Drug Administration were also discussed.
In a response to the escalation of warning into imports which have adversely affected this domain, Hall assured that pressure has been given on the administrative body to start addressing the problems critical in the functioning of these pharmaceuticals.