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US businesses to ambush Singh with ad blitz

world Updated: Sep 25, 2013 03:11 IST
Yashwant Raj
Manmohan Singh

US businesses responsible for much of India’s recent toxicity in this town plan to ambush Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with an ad offensive when he lands here on Thursday.

Trade body at the centre of that effort, National Association of Manufacturers, has planned a multi-media rollout involving digital, print and outdoor ads to reinforce it message.

The association has argued in a continuing high-impact campaign that India is discriminating against US firms through biased investment and taxation policies.

It has been so effective — India has yielded on some of these issues, such as preferring locally produced goods to imports — some DC analysts have likened its methods to “bullying”. NAM’s ads will run in influential newspapers and news sites such as the Washington Post, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, and Politico, NAM confirmed.

“The digital ads are already running in New York,” wrote NAM media director Jamie Hennigan in an email response to a question about the campaign and its scope. The print ads kick in when Singh lands here. “Manufacturers and Congress agree: India must play fair on trade,” said one of the ads made available to Hindustan Times by the association as a sample of the onslaught.

PM will meet President Barack Obama Friday in what is being seen as an effort to fix a relationship that has appeared broken in recent months.

In no small measure because of NAM’s efforts.

The association plans to run ads on the walls of the Dulles International Airport, hoping to catch the attention of the prime minister and his delegation on their way into DC.

It has whipped up a storm on Capitol Hill, and below, down Pennsylvania Avenue, getting US lawmakers to sign letters demanding pressure on India to yield.

Another NAM-sponsored letter went to President Barack Obama on similar lines, signed by 171 members of the House of Representatives, also close to Kerry’s India visit.

Kerry dutifully raised them at his meetings in New Delhi.