American govt wants higher  engagement with Pune city

ROHIT CHANDAVARKAR
Saturday, 14 April 2018

Pune: “For American government and American business tier two cities and smaller towns are of immense interest now. There is a large presence of American business in Pune. The student community is present in very large numbers in Pune. Looking at this, our goal is to increase our engagement in Pune,” said Edgard D Kagan, Consul General of United States in Mumbai during his exclusive chat with Sakal Times on Friday in Pune.

Pune: “For American government and American business tier two cities and smaller towns are of immense interest now. There is a large presence of American business in Pune. The student community is present in very large numbers in Pune. Looking at this, our goal is to increase our engagement in Pune,” said Edgard D Kagan, Consul General of United States in Mumbai during his exclusive chat with Sakal Times on Friday in Pune.

Consul General Kagan was in Pune on Thursday and Friday to attend the Indo American Chamber of Commerce event, visit Ranjangaon plant of Whirlpool and also to attend a fellowship night and visit National Chemical Laboratory for interactions with researchers there among some other engagements. Speaking exclusively to Sakal Times, Consul General Kagan spoke on a spectrum of subjects.

“Indo-US trade has increased by five times of what it was 10 years ago but is that good enough or should it be more is a matter to think about. I am confident that the trade will grow. For the bilateral trade to grow fast enough it is important that the government should focus on ease of doing business,” Kagan said while answering a question.  

“I am confident that India and the United States can get together in many areas of cooperation such as manufacturing and there is no contradiction between ‘Make in India’ and ‘America First’. We have many areas where joint ventures can be done,” Consul General Kagan said.

‘No contradiction between Make in India and America First’

Edward D Kagan, the Consul General of United States of America in Mumbai, spoke exclusively with Rohit Chandavarkar on various subjects including Indo US bilateral trade, areas of cooperation in the future and even the issues related to visas. Here are excerpts from the conversation.

Q : Consul General Kagan can you tell us about your interest in Pune city and your engagements here during this visit.
 Kagan : I am really thrilled to be here in Pune. I have visited the city earlier and I find it exciting because of the large presence of American business here. I attended an Indo American chamber of commerce meet, visited Ranjangaon plant of Whirlpool, also  attended a fellowship night and am visiting the National Chemical Laboratory for interactions with researchers there among some other engagements. For American government and American business’ tier two cities and smaller towns are of immense interest now. There is large presence of American business in Pune, the student community is present in very large numbers in Pune, looking at this, our goal is to increase our engagement in Pune.

Q : Indo American Bilateral trade has grown in the past few years but do you think the economic reforms happening in India may be affecting that growth? How do you see things shaping?
Kagan : Indo-US trade has increased by five times of what is was 10 years ago but is that good enough or should it be more is a matter to think about. I am confident that the trade will grow. For the bilateral trade to grow fast enough its important that the government should focus on ease of doing business. I am happy that there are lots of positives when we speak of Indo American trade. I see more and more American business’ in cities like Pune. I also see interest among Indian companies to invest in the United States. So I am confident that we will see growth in the future and that’s good for both the sides.

Q : Can you identify which are the three or four key sectors where growth in cooperation will be high.   
Kagan : Conventional areas such as defence and aerospace are already doing well. I have full confidence that India and United States can get together in many areas of cooperation such as manufacturing and there is no contradiction between ‘Make in India’ and ‘America First. We have many areas where joint ventures can be done. I see a lot of potential in the services sector. Also in the energy sector we have vast scope in conventional energy such as oil and natural gas as well as in non-conventional areas such as nuclear energy I see a lot of scope opening up.

Q : There are a lot of positive things related to Indo US ties but there are also some issues which have created disputes recently. The issue of H1B visa has been contentious. How do you look at it?
Kagan : I feel that it has to be looked at in the right perspective. From the American side it is not only an India specific decision. It’s a policy for the entire world, nothing specific only to India. But things are moving towards a positive situation.

Q : Can you tell us something about the science and technology endowment fund.
Kagan : This is a very positive thing. The governments on both sides have developed this endowment fund to help push innovation and research. I can see that it will benefit a lot of people and it has also helped in developing better government to government relations.

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