Welcome Reception & Panel Discussion Recap

On December 4, 2018, GIACC hosted a Welcome Reception for the new Indian Consul General, Atlanta, Dr. Swati V. Kulkarni, and a panel discussion on Indo-US trade. Indo-US trade has accelerated in the last decade due to close relations between the respective governments, and sustained efforts of diplomats, business leaders and trading partners between the two countries. The defense, aviation and technology sectors have seen significant growth and Indo –US cooperation over the last decade. Major American companies like Amazon, Wal-Mart, Lockheed to name a few, have increased spend multifold in India, the 3rd largest economy of Asia and one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

Dr. Kulkarni shared a current overview of Indo- US trade and how it has accelerated in the last decade followed by a Q & A with the audience. This was followed by the panel discussion, moderated by Sonjui Kumar, founding Partner, KPPB Law, and consisting of Dr. Jag Sheth, the Kellstadt Professor of Marketing at Emory University’s School of Business; Atman Trivedi, Managing Director of Hill and Company, which advises Fortune 200 companies on trade, investment and commercial diplomacy and politics; Elliott Page, Director of Air Service Development at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport; and David Gault, President of the Direct Resources Group, a logistics and sourcing company that works with retailers and importers from all over the world, helping them bring their products to market.

GIACC 12 4 2018 v4Dr. Sheth focused on how India will become the second sourcing destination to China for export of goods made in India and at the same time, it will become the global destination for talent for technology multinationals such as Microsoft, Google, Facebook as well as for R&D across several industries. Dr. Sheth also predicted a shift from trade to foreign direct investment, specifically in the defense sector.

Atman Trivedi provided a general overview of the US-India trade, investment, and commercial relationship, which will reference the positive growth in the broader U.S.-India relationship, the role of the Indian American diaspora communities, and of the talented entrepreneurs and private sector businesses in both countries who are also creating momentum.

Elliot Page gave the audience a glimpse into the current cargo and passenger air traffic between India and Atlanta. He confirmed that India is Atlanta’s largest origin-destination passenger market without nonstop service and is a priority market for Atlanta. The launching of this flight is vital to promote trade and investment, and build the “bridge” of demographic ties between these two nations. While he did not confirm when this service would be launched, he tantalized the eager audience by stating that it would be soon!

David Gault, who has been involved in the US-India trade channel since 1991, shared his observations of the impact of the recent Trump tariffs, in that his customers are pivoting from China as the major sourcing option, to India and Indonesia, with respect to their furniture, lighting and other home decor items.

The event concluded with several interesting and insightful questions from the audience to the panelists. It was hosted at the Buckhead, Atlanta Office of Greenberg Traurig LLP and was very well attended by the GIACC Board and its members, other Business Chamber members, and trade representatives of the Taipei and Canadian Consulates.