On June 10, the US government established a new commercial office in Ahmedabad, India that will work towards expanding commercial ties between the two countries. The US conducted its first commercial operation in Ahmedabad 17 years ago and has since strengthened its relationship through numerous trade missions and business connections. The new office will solidify the US government’s presence in the region and promote increased trade and investment from both sides. As US Consul General Peter Haas stated at the office’s inauguration, “Opening a new commercial office in Ahmedabad signals that the US government is confident that our bilateral economic relationship will continue to grow for many years to come.”
Two-way trade between the US and India has flourished since the late 1990s. US goods and services exports to India surged from $6 billion in 1999 to $35 billion in 2012. During the same time period, the US increased its total imports from India by nearly $50 billion. Tellingly, from 2001 to 2011, the amount of goods exports to India from six US states—Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Carolina, Utah, and West Virginia—witnessed an annual percent change of at least 30%, with Montana’s increasing by a whopping 118%. In addition, the US and India view each other as valuable investment destinations. In 2012, the US invested $4.1 billion in India, while India invested $3.3 billion in the US. It is clear that the US-India economic relationship has blossomed over the past decade, and the creation of a new commercial office in Ahmedabad will make sure that this trend continues.
Aside from international trade and investment, India has also had an important influence within the US. These contributions are currently being highlighted in a new Smithsonian exhibit in Washington, D.C. called Beyond Bollywood. The exhibit depicts the lives of various Indian immigrants and Indian-Americans that have made important contributions to American politics, business, and culture. Such figures include Dalip Singh Saund, the first Asian American elected to Congress, Amar G. Bose, the founder of Bose Corp, and Nina Davuluri, the first Indian-American Miss America pageant winner. The Beyond Bollywood exhibit plans to travel the US for up to five years after it closes in Washington next year.
The new trade office in Ahmedabad is thus just one of many ways in which US-India ties continue to grow.
Andy Nguyen is a research intern at the East-West Center in Washington and a graduate student at Georgetown University.