The last CII survey, in 2018, had pegged the total investment at $18 billion, based on responses only from 100 companies.(HT File Photo)
The last CII survey, in 2018, had pegged the total investment at $18 billion, based on responses only from 100 companies.(HT File Photo)

Indian firms have invested $22.6 billion in US, created 1.25 lakh jobs: Survey

The report “highlights the significant investments made by Indian industry in the US, including in the area of research and development,” Taranjit Sandhu, Indian ambassador to the US, said at the launch of the report at a virtual conference.
Hindustan Times, Washington | By Yashwant Raj | Posted by Kanishka Sarkar
UPDATED ON JUN 16, 2020 11:24 AM IST

Indian companies have invested $22.6 billion in the United States so far and created nearly 125,000 jobs, says a new survey report by an Indian industry body released Monday.

The actual investment numbers might be much higher because the survey — “Indian Roots, American Soil by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) — was based on responses from 155 companies in the US, and not all of them. There are many more according to industry sources and they have been either slow or reluctant to respond to questionnaires. But there was no readily available guesstimate of them or their worth.

The last CII survey, in 2018, had pegged the total investment at $18 billion, based on responses only from 100 companies.

The report “highlights the significant investments made by Indian industry in the US, including in the area of research and development,” Taranjit Sandhu, Indian ambassador to the US, said at the launch of the report at a virtual conference.

The ambassador also pointed to the contribution by Indian companies to local communities through their CSR initiatives such as supporting students, organizing skilling sand training programmes.

The reverse investment by US companies in India is $46 billion as of 2018, according to the US trade representative’s office.

The report, released every two years, measures the growing presence of Indian companies in the United States as proof India-US economic ties are not a one-way street. And, equally importantly, it provides a counter-narrative to criticism in recent years that Indians are taking away American jobs through outsourcing.

The findings are specially instructive now as the Trump administration continues to erect more barriers for Indian IT services companies — explicitly naming some of them from the podium of the White House press briefing room once — in line with the president’s “Buy American, Hire American” vision.

“This report tells the continuing story of successful and innovative Indian companies attracted to the United States as one of the best places to do business, and the US locations eager to welcome those companies,” said Diane Farrell acting deputy-undersecretary of commerce, at the virtual launch.

Washington DC is in the first phase of opening up from Covid-19 restrictions and teleworking and remote conferences and meetings are still the preferred mode of operation in a city that thrives, otherwise, on schmoozing, face-to-face meetings and showing up to be seen and note others at these events.

Information technology and telecommunications companies led by industry giants TCS, Infosys and Wipro accounted for the largest share of Indian presence with 27.10%. They were closely followed by life sciences, pharmaceuticals and healthcare at 24.52%.

Manufacturing and automotive were next with 19% and 10% respectively. But the numbers do not adequately reflect the growing outsized influence of Indian companies in these sectors. Welspun India is the chief provider of pipes for a pipeline bringing crude from Canada to refineries in the US.

And Mahindra’s has emerged as a major automotive player. It is a key challenger to John Deere tractors, the market leader, and maker of off-road vehicles It has made it to the shortlist of contenders to provide the US postal service with its ubiquitous right-hand drive vehicles.

Secretary of State Michael Pompeo recognized its contribution to the Trump administration’s battle against the Covid-19 outbreak recently. Mahindra’s automotive plant in Detroit, Michigan switched to producing protective gear used by healthcare professionals dealing with Covid-19 patients.

Texas was the top destination for Indian companies with $9.4 billion in investments, followed by New Jersey with $2.4 billion, New York with $1.79 billion, Massachusetts and California tied with $858 million, and Missouri with $595 million and Indiana, vice-president Mike Pence’s home state, with $565 million.

“Texas came first in every category in this year’s report,” noted John Corny, the senior Republican senator from Texas who co-chairs the India caucus in the senate. “Indian Americans have made so many important cultural, economic and scientific contributions to our country and Texas values your hard work and innovation. So keep up the good work!”

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