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Houston mayor leads trade delegation to India

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: November 11, 2018  | 14:54 IST

By Seema Hakhu Kachru Houston (US), Nov 11 (PTI) Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner will lead a high-level trade and investment mission to India from November 12-18 to boost bilateral trade relations and joint investment initiatives in various sectors including energy, education, space and civil aviation. The delegation is scheduled to meet with government and corporate representatives from the energy, life sciences, transportation, innovation, and space sectors to facilitate the exchange of information and promote partnerships between the US city of Houston and India. The mission, whose first halt is New Delhi from November 12-14 and later to Mumbai on November 14-17 will focus on increasing trade and investment between the Houston region and Indian cities including Mumbai and Delhi. Turner, who is visiting India for the first time since holding this position, is accompanied by Susan Davenport, Chief Economic Development Officer for the Greater Houston Partnership, William T Harris, CEO & president Johnson Space Center, Swapan Dhairyawan, president of the Indo American Chamber of commerce of Greater Houston (IACCGH), Jagdip Ahluwalia, founder & executive director IACCGH, Sanjay Ramabhadran, Principal Houston Metro, and representatives from the city of Houston, including city council members and economic development, communication and international trade directors. This trip is due to a combination of factors that make India an attractive partner for Houston in terms of culture, trade and investment exchange. Besides the large Indian student presence at various educational institutions in Houston and the booming diaspora itself, Houston has a strong Indian economic presence as well. Mahindra USA, Larsen and Toubro, Reliance and Welspun have their US operations headquartered in Houston. Additionally, the city houses the US headquarters of India's three public sector companies - ONGC Videsh Ltd, Oil India Ltd and Gail Global USA. IT majors Infosys, Wipro, TechMahindra, Tata Consulting Services and Cognizant also have tens of thousands of employees in the Greater Houston region. "We share strong business, trade and cultural ties. I see much potential for increased economic activity between Houston and India and look forward to helping make those connections," Turner told PTI. "India is now a major LNG consumer & the fastest growing energy market of the world. Between 10 to 15 per cent of the world's oil consumption is in India. It is natural for the energy capital of the world to have connections with this market. Indians are major buyers of oil, LNG and petrochemicals. "Indian companies are committed to lifting at least a billion dollars' worth of LNG per annum from the Sabine Pass terminal near Houston for the next decade. The first shipment of petroleum from the US to India also sailed off from a Houston area port earlier this year. "This flow is going to increase. We expect that Houston will become a hub for energy exports to India. Virtually all Houston-based oil majors are expanding their footprint in India. These include upstream, downstream, and midstream companies. Companies associated with the oil industry such as oilfield service and technology companies also have growing operations in India," he said. "A key area of interest of the delegation is US crude oil trade between Houston ports and India. By June 2018, Houston ports exported 15 million barrels of oil to India, which was a significant increase from the 8 million barrels exports during all of 2017. Given the current international trade climate, it is possible that US crude oil shipment from Houston ports to India may be an area of discussion for the future", said Anupam Ray, Consul General of India. In 2017, Houston-India trade was valued at approximately 4.9 billion USD. Nearly 82,000 people living in the Greater Houston Metropolitan area were born in India. During the first half of 2018, India advanced as one of Houston's top 10 export destinations. Exports from Houston to India are up 61.5 per cent this year by dollar value. The mayor's visit comes months after Texas Governor Greg Abbot toured India in January. PTI SHK KUN KUN

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