Fresh from her emphatic-election, South Carolina's governor Nikki Haley is to visit India next week to bring investment and promote her state as a tourist destination in her parents' native country.
During the 10-day trip beginning November 11, Haley and her delegation are scheduled to have as many as 90 meetings in New Delhi, Hyderabad, Amritsar, Mumbai and Chennai.
"Next week, the State of South Carolina is launching our first trade and investment mission to India," Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt said yesterday.
The delegation includes Commerce personnel, the state's Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, private-sector economic development allies and several South Carolina-based companies looking to make export connections, he said.
"The goal of the trip is to put South Carolina on the map with Indian businesses.
"We will be introducing the advantages of doing business in South Carolina to Indian companies in order to enhance our trade ties and to encourage domestic investment by Indian companies," Hitt said.
During the visit, Haley would also be positioning South Carolina as a top tourism destination.
India sends one of the largest numbers of tourists to the US, but a small fraction of them come to South Carolina.
Haley and Duane Parrish, Director of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, will pitch South Carolina tourism to a gathering of India-based travel media.
"From the business side, foreign-direct investment has been a key economic development strategy for the state," Hitt said adding that international companies like Michelin, BMW, FUJIFILM, Honda and many others have established a presence in our state and they continue to grow.
This is nothing short of a grueling schedule for the delegation, with more than 90 individual meetings and events planned, he said.
South Carolina Government would be spending around $50,000 for the trip.
During her India visit, in addition to meeting top Indian leaders and officials, Haley will make several public addresses including Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
According to official figures, from 2011 to present, foreign-based companies contributed 34% of new jobs and 60% of investment in to South Carolina.
Companies based in Japan, Germany, France, China and Canada represented the top five contributors to foreign-direct investment in South Carolina from 2011-2013.
Exports from South Carolina to India last year totaled $352 million, up from $110 million in 2005.
This ranks South Carolina 14th in the nation for total exports to India, according to the US Department of Commerce. US exports to India have more than doubled (up 127%) since 2006, from $9.6 billion to $21.8 billion.