FRANKFORT, Ky. — The U.S. Department of Commerce has selected Gov. Matt Bevin to lead an economic development delegation to India in mid-January to attend the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2019, also providing an opportunity to discuss and promote Kentucky as a must-see location for corporate investment and job growth.
The delegation, which includes the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) and co-leaders of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, will strengthen ties with national and state government leaders, industry groups and individual businesses in one of the world’s largest and fastest growing economies.
“Kentucky is excited to explore opportunities within the Indian market and to meet with key government and business leaders during next month’s business summit,” said Bevin. “Our state is a leading exporter of food products as well as healthcare and engineering technologies. This trip is an incredible opportunity to showcase Kentucky’s growth as an epicenter for global companies. I look forward to leading the USIBC delegation to Vibrant Gujarat and helping to increase awareness about trade and investment opportunities between the U.S. and India.”
Narendra Modi, prime minister of India, created the Vibrant Gujarat summit in 2003, when he was chief minister of Gujarat state, as a means to re-establish Gujarat as a preferred investment destination within India.
Today the summit provides a platform for brainstorming agendas of global socio-economic development, in addition to being a facilitator for knowledge sharing and forging effective partnerships. More than 25,000 delegates from 100-plus countries attended the eighth Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit in January 2017, including participants from four heads of states, Nobel laureates, executives of global corporations and thought leaders.
The delegation will also travel to Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, to participate in industry meetings surrounding Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, a celebration of the contributions to India’s development by Indian citizens working internationally.
Nisha Biswal, president of the USIBC, said the organization will deliver a productive and impactful engagement for Kentucky and USIBC members at Vibrant Gujarat and in Uttar Pradesh.
“It is an honor for USIBC and its members to welcome a close partnership with Governor Bevin and the State of Kentucky to lead a delegation of U.S. companies critical to the growth of the U.S.-India bilateral trade and commercial relationship,” Biswal said. “Kentucky and India have enjoyed a longstanding partnership, which has resulted in job creation and expanded business opportunities for both Indian and Kentucky companies.”
Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development leaders Terry Gill and Vivek Sarin will join Gov. Bevin, as will Erran Persley, the cabinet’s executive director for international affairs and business development. During events and meetings throughout the trip, the delegation plans on building and strengthening relationships with Indian business and political connections to fuel future economic growth for the state.
Indian companies own – in whole or part – five facilities in Kentucky, which currently employ approximately 1,625 people. Those include Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC in Glasgow; Cumi America Inc. Abrasives Division in Hebron; Flex Films USA Inc. in Elizabethtown; Logan Aluminum Inc. in Russellville; Novelis Corp. in Berea; and Piramal Pharma Solutions Inc. in Lexington.
In addition to those five facilities, Novelis earlier this year broke ground in Guthrie for a 125-job aluminum rolling mill, which is scheduled to open by 2020. And this summer Novelis announced it will purchase Aleris Corp., which operates an aluminum rolling mill in Lewisport employing nearly 1,000 people. The deal is scheduled to close in 2019. Together, those will push Kentucky’s Indian-owned facilities to seven, employing about 2,750 people.
The mission to India follows numerous international development trips during the Bevin Administration, including missions earlier this year to China, England, Japan and South Korea.
Through September (the most recent data available), Kentucky exported nearly $116 million in products and services to India, an increase over the same months last year. Currently, India is Kentucky’s 22nd largest export destination out of nearly 200 nations to which the Bluegrass State exports. In 2017, Kentucky exports to India reached nearly $128 million goods and services.
Formed in 1975 at the request of the US and Indian governments, the USIBC is the premier business advocacy organization, comprised of 350 top-tier U.S. and Indian companies advancing US-India commercial ties. The USIBC is the largest bilateral trade association in the US, based in Washington D.C., with a global presence in New York, San Francisco, New Delhi and Mumbai.