News & Analysis

Indo-US Collaboration to Advance Business Post COVID-19

Only days after Donald Trump administration reportedly planned to suspend H-1B and other employment visas, which would adversely impact on thousands of Indian IT professionals, a new report issued by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) proposed that in the post-COVID world, India and the US should take concerted and focused efforts to advance their remarkable business linkages between the two countries. 

The report, ‘Indian Roots, American Soil 2020’ showed, apart from Sunder Pichai of Google and Satya Nadella of Microsoft, there are many Indian origin business owners who are continuously contributing in the direction of bringing the two countries to be closer. As many as 155 Indian companies have invested $22 billion in the US, thus creating nearly 125,000 jobs in the country, the report said.

Speaking on the occasion of the launch of the report, India’s Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu noted that the coronavirus pandemic should both countries new opportunities to step up bilateral cooperation.

CII said that the surveyed companies disclosed the highest amounts of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Texas, New Jersey, New York, Florida, and Massachusetts. The states with the top concentrations of Indian companies were New Jersey, Texas, California, New York, Illinois and Georgia.

The total value of tangible investments made by these 155 companies exceeds USD 22 billion, the CII said. Indian investments in 20 US states stand at over $100 million each, CII report said, adding that 77% of the companies plan to make more investments in the US.

According to the report, the top five states in which Indian companies have generated maximum employment are: Texas (17,578 jobs), California (8,271 jobs), New Jersey (8,057 jobs), New York (6,175 jobs) and Florida (5,454 jobs). As many as 83% of the companies plan to hire more employees locally in the next five years.

“We need to recommit ourselves to building stronger relationships between India and the United States,” he said. The Indian American community has made significant contributions to American society whether it is through the arts, military, business, or medicine, said Congressman Ami Bera, Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, and the longest serving Indian American in the Congress.

The surveyed companies also provided data regarding their corporate social responsibility (CSR) and research and development expenditures, which totalled $175 million and $900 million, respectively.

 

This report tells the continuing story of successful and innovative Indian companies attracted to the US as one of the best places to do business, and the US locations eager to welcome those companies, said Diane Farrell, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for International Administration, US Department of Commerce. 

In the current circumstance, US needs access to skilled workers for delivery of critical good and services, including those needed in the Covid-19 fight, said IT industry body Nasscom that suggested that technology workers be exempted from any visa restrictions that may be imposed by the US, on the grounds that they are ‘essential workers’. .

“As businesses reopen, Nasscom believes it is important for the US to access talent critical to the recovery phase. US enterprises need access to essential technology workers who are keeping critical infrastructure operating in the US. These include healthcare, hospitals and online and playing key roles to develop treatments for this disease — to name a few vital services,” it said in a statement.

Without their continued contributions of skilled workers, economic pain would worsen, industry would slow, and the timeline for a treatment and cure of Covid-19 could lengthen, the IT body said.

In such context, synergies between India and the US covers so many industry sectors like Solar, renewable energy, Information technology, space, power, IoT, Pharmaceuticals, Military equipment, Transportation, commodities, Food, and so on. But, it is an important need of the hour to prepare and implement a strong restart plan after COVID-19 for business partnerships growth and expansion. And in that restart plan, India-American businesspeople hold great prominence in writing a great new chapter of Indo-US relations in 2020 and generations ahead.

Experts in the industry believe that the COVID-19 Pandemic has literally jolted the entire world’s economy and is impacting the worldwide equations between the nations. In the post-COVID scenario, a few nations are expected to emerge more united than ever. This is expected from US and India relations, they conclude. 

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Sohini Bagchi
Sohini Bagchi is Editor at Trivone Digital, a published author and a storyteller. She can be reached at sohini.bagchi@trivone.com