Pallone Praises Ranbaxys Investments in The U.S.
Thank you very much for hosting the Asian Indian Chamber of Commerce delegation and me today.
The members of the India Caucus, including myself have tried to encourage more trade with India, in part by identifying key areas where there is the most potential. The purpose of my trip to India this week under the auspices of the Asian Indian Chamber of Commerce, a New Jersey diaspora organization based in my Congressional district, is to develop economic opportunities between our two countries.
But, I would be less than honest if I didnt express disappointment with the pace of trade between the U.S. and India, and even more so, to express my concern over its one-sided approach.
The amount of trade between the U.S. and India has picked up in the last few months after languishing during previous years as the entire world experienced an economic slump. However, there are a lot more exports from India than imports to India.
The largest cause of concern is the so-called outsourcing--loss of U.S. jobs to India, which is accelerating and increasing at a rapid rate in many sectors, most notably information technology and health care. I am not a supporter of outsourcing. Contrary to statements made by Indian leaders, most notably Prime Minister Vajpayee, I dont see outsourcing as beneficial to the U.S. in the short or long-term. But, regardless of your views on the economic value of outsourcing for the U.S. or India, I will tell you emphatically that it is hurting U.S./ India relations, particularly with Congress.
My plea during this trip is to ask Indian officials--business and political leaders--not to promote outsourcing as a panacea. The average U.S. citizen will resent that type of promotion and has good reason to do so because of loss of American jobs. What I would ask you to do instead is to promote trade as a two-way street. India has the potential to be a huge market for U.S. goods, and the Indian government and business community needs to lower tariffs and provide a better environment for U.S. exports.
Indian companies can also invest and create jobs in the U.S. and some already have. One has to look no further than Ranbaxy as a role model Indian company. Ranbaxy is a leading pharmaceutical company that has expanded worldwide, including the U.S. and in my home state of New Jersey. As an Indian company that has invested in the U.S., worked hard to become one of the top ten generic drug companies in the U.S., and created many American jobs, I see them as a guiding force for other Indian companies that are looking to expand.
Earlier this week I met in Ahmedabad representatives from two other companies, Claris Life Sciences and Alembic, which have expressed interest in similar type investments in the U.S.
It is extremely important for the Indian diaspora in the U.S. to stress the potential for new job creation in the U.S. by Indian investment in America, as well as sale of U.S. products in India. Little is heard of these activities by the American people, who increasingly see young, bright Indian nationals in a negative light for taking away their jobs.
From an overall policy perspective, the U.S. government is seeking to remove trade barriers with India and to encourage an economic trade union in South Asia comparable to the European Union. Developments in the last few days in Islamabad by the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation towards a free trade agreement will obviously be encouraged in Washington.