Seeking new markets in India

Miranda Kennedy Nov 29, 2006

BOB MOON: A group of 250 American executives are in India today, looking past the flowing saris and burning incense for business opportunities. They’re part of the largest U.S. trade delegation ever to visit the Asian subcontinent. Commerce Department Undersecretary Frank Lavin is leading the group, encouraging Americans to do business with one of the world’s fastest growing economies.

The mission kicked off in Mumbai with a business summit, where corporate leaders received tips on selling everything from soybeans to jet engines. Miranda Kennedy has more.

MIRANDA KENNEDY: For months, trade specialists from the Commerce Department have been crafting their message on India for the U.S. business audience: The economy is zipping along at 8 percent.

Indian businessmen are looking for foreign partners, and, says trade official Carmine D’Aloisio:

CARMINE D’ALOISIO: This is a phenomenal opportunity. And those companies that had looked at the market before and may have negative views about India, they have to take a new look about the market.

For some industries this is a new opportunity. Nuclear power companies like G.E. and Westinghouse were prohibited by U.S. law from selling nuclear fuel or technology to India because of its refusal to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. But the Senate just passed a bill changing that. And now Ed Cummins, a vice president for nuclear power at Westinghouse, hopes to soon begin building nuclear reactors here.

ED CUMMINS: I think that India represents one of the largest markets for nuclear power in the world. When you have a business opportunity that is this large, it’s helpful to get an early start, and that’s what we’re doing.

It’s also a new opportunity for the defense industry. For India, updating its aging arsenal is an important part of its new image on the world stage.

In New Delhi, I’m Miranda Kennedy for Marketplace.

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