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Corporate America's wish-list for Obama India trip

REUTERS - Corporate America will turn up in force for President Barack Obama’s first visit to India next month, with over 200 companies expected to attend a conference in Mumbai that will be headlined by the president.

Guests hold the flags of the United States and India at the White House in Washington November 24, 2009. REUTERS/Jim Young/Files

The U.S.-India Business Council hosts the event on Nov. 6 and says the U.S. corporate presence will mark “the largest business delegation to leave U.S. shores in history”.

It has high hopes Obama’s visit and his speech to business leaders will spur trade between the United States and this potentially lucrative market of 1.2 billion people.

That ambition is accompanied by a lengthy list of tangible ‘deliverables’ cementing ties between the two nations, including a mixture of strategic steps removing obstacles to future business and specific deals in the pipeline that U.S. firms hope to seal.

Here are highlights of the Council’s wish list, which also provides a yardstick by which to measure the success of Obama’s visit from the viewpoint of U.S. business:


- Successful conclusion to Indian purchase of 10 Boeing C-17s military transport planes, worth around $4.5 billion. The sale awaits U.S. congressional approval.

- Hopeful sale by Boeing in late October of 30 new 737 aircraft, worth $2.7 billion, to private Indian airlines.

- Sale by GE of fighter jet engines worth $800 million to the Indian air force, and a separate $500 million sale of heavy duty gas turbines to India’s Reliance Energy Ltd.

- Caterpillar: A $50 million marine engine deal for the Indian Coast Guard.

- Building on Cummins’ and Eaton Corp’s progress in producing natural gas hybrid buses with the Indian firm Tata Motors for the Commonwealth Games that are now being used in the New Delhi transport system.

- Harley-Davidson: Plans a new plant in India to assemble American made motorcycle kits. The iconic U.S. motorcycle maker announced in January it would launch 12 models in India this year.


- Loosening U.S. export controls and dual-use licensing policies to foster high-tech and defense industry trade between the countries by elevating the bilateral relationship to one of a “true strategic partnership”.

- U.S. backing for Indian membership in global nuclear nonproliferation regimes. The Council specifically named the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Australian Group, which aims to reduce the spread of chemical and biological weapons, and the Wassenaar Arrangement, a multinational effort to control the transfer of conventional arms and dual-use technology.

- Revitalized negotiations on a Bilateral Investment Treaty

- Greater collaboration in commercial space and aerospace