Innovation, Infrastructure Shape 5th India Trade Conference

Members of the Commerce Department join R. Sampath (third from right), Indian Consul General N. Parthasarathi (fifth from left), Cerritos Councilmember Carol Chen (center), and U.S. Dept. of Commerce’s Export Achievement Award winner Jeffrey Greenstein (fourth from right) during the conclusion of the India Trade Conference’s keynote session. (Parimal M. Rohit photo)

By Parimal M. Rohit, Special to India-West

The consul general of India in San Francisco, N. Parthasarathi, headlined the 5th Annual India Trade Conference presented by Quanta Consulting, the Port of Los Angeles, and the U.S. Commercial Service at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts here June 28, the theme of which was “Innovation, Infrastructure, and Social Impact.”

About 200 trade experts and business executives convened in Cerritos to discuss the burgeoning import-export market that is India. Among the topics of discussion were new opportunities and trends in India as well as nonconventional financing, smart energy, social entrepreneurship, and the finer nuances of logistics and trade.

The full-day conference featured 20 speakers spread out over six panel sessions and three morning keynote addresses.

Setting the tone for the daylong conference was Consul General Parthasarathi, who kicked off the morning keynote session with his perspectives on why the time is ripe to invest in and trade with India.

“Please do believe in India’s story. If you have a project, go and find a niche target. If you can just produce a quality product … at a good price, there is an infinite market available,” Parthasarathi said.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for South Asia Holly Vineyard said the next step for India-U.S. relations is to move beyond government-led initiatives and instead foster growth in the private and academia sectors.

“We need to figure out how we can do more at developing cluster to cluster contact. It’s that kind of conversation that really needs to take place,” Vineyard said, adding that establishing collaborative efforts with universities in both countries could be vital toward fostering advances in the sciences and research and development.

Speaking on behalf of the city of Cerritos, Councilmember Carol Chen spoke of how her municipality is a center for commerce and home to several import-export companies. She also observed how impressed she was with statistical data that indicated increased trade opportunities between the United States and India.

Lead organizer of the event R. Sampath, who is the managing director of Quanta Consulting, said that trade relations between the United States and India should be more than dollars and cents – or rupee and paisa – but also be about “engagement with the community” so that “it’s not us versus them” but, instead, a collaborative effort beyond profits and ledger statements.

In addition to the keynote addresses, the India Trade Conference featured five topic-specific panels ranging from general trade trends to specific opportunities.

The morning panel, for example, focused on high growth industry segments within India. Panelists shared success stories and discussed optimal approaches in pursuing trade in the subcontinent.

Other panel sessions focused on logistics and operations of India’s international trading industry, nonconventional financial investments and risks, smart energy, and social entrepreneurship.

Among the featured panelists for each breakout session included key figures from Toshiba America, the U.S. Department of Commerce, Western Digital, Los Angeles World Airports, UPS, Fedex, Southern California Edison, the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, and BeWo Technologies, each individual providing valuable insight on the prospects of doing business in India.

The conference, which has completed its fifth year, was sponsored by Southern California Edison, the California Chamber of Commerce, The Indus Entrepreneurs, Los Angeles World Airports, Stradling Yocca Carlson and Routh, and the Marshall School of Business at University of Southern California, among others.

Filmmaker Jeffrey Goldstein of Nu Image/Millennium Films was the recipient of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Export Achievement Award for his work in creating an international market for his cinematic projects.

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