Chicago: India Inc, which is facing the heat from US Presidential candidates who blamed ‘shipping jobs´ to China and India for rising US unemployment, has launched a counter-offensive here telling Americans that the industry is creating new work opportunities for them.
A full-page advertisement in the Chicago Tribune yesterday, by industry body FICCI and the Commerce Ministry, gives an elaborate account of how the legendary Tata Group, along with several others like Ranbaxy, Mahindra USA, Bharat Forge, ITC Kitchens of India and HCL America have created thousands of jobs in America by investing in different sectors of the US economy.
The FICCI ad insertion in the leading US paper coincided with Barack Obama, who is engaged in a tight race with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Presidential nomination, making a strong pitch to Ohio’s blue-collar workers with a plan to reward American firms that do not ship jobs overseas.
“This is a six-month roll out before the Presidential elections. We will be talking to the US Congressmen and other opinion-makers about the positive impact of the increasing Indian investment in the US,” said Amit Mitra, secretary general of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
The Tata Group that operates 16 companies in the US, from luxury hotels and beverage business to manufacturing, telecom and IT consulting, employs over 5,000 Americans. Likewise, Ranbaxy is creating jobs and stimulating the economy in North Carolina, New Jersey and Florida, FICCI said.
“Where is the job loss? We are creating jobs for them,” Washington-based Ranjan V Khanna, who heads the chamber in the US said.
At a lunch hosted by The Executive’ Club of Chicago, Rajinder Bedi, Managing Director, Office of Trade and Investment, State of Illinois, US, said the exports from Illinois alone to India have doubled in the last four years. “That way, you (India) have created jobs for the people of the Illinois state,” Bedi said.
While outsourcing has become an election issue here, the US exports account for 40% of the country’s GDP and are growing at 12% per annum.
“Opening markets ultimately is the best thing we can do for the US economy,” said Susan Schwab, US Trade Representative, at the luncheon meeting in honour of Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath.
Expressing hope that a global trade deal under the Doha Round can be worked out within this year, Nath also raised concern over the unfolding the “protectionist” political environment. “I do hope that we complete the Round this year-end, especially with the domestic political situation becoming more protectionist,” he said.
The counter-campaign by the Indian industry to the election slogan of ‘job-shipping´ also talks about how several American firms, which went down under and were even facing bankruptcy, have been revived by groups like Bharat Forge.
The Pune-based group had acquired in 2005 bankrupt Federal Forge, Inc in Lansing, Michigan, and opened its plant without downsizing. “By stepping in and maintaining the Michigan plant, the newly-named Bharat Forge America protected the jobs of 150 skilled American auto workers, the jobs that otherwise would have been lost,” the apex Indian chamber said.
Likewise, the Eight O’Clock Coffee firm acquired by Tata Coffee division for $220 million in 2006 has been modernised and its manufacturing facility at Maryland is able to compete with big coffee players in the US market and abroad, it said