Press Releases 2012
Hyderabad | June14, 2012
Remarks by U.S. Chargé d'Affaires Donald Lu at St. Mary’s College, Hyderabad
Students of St. Mary’s College,
I’ve been planning my return to my university for my 25th reunion and visiting with you today reminds me how long it has been since I’ve been in your shoes worried about homework, meeting girls and getting a job.
I understand we have some business administration students, so I’ll spend a few minutes talking about what’s right and what’s wrong with the U.S.-India business relationship. Then I also wanted to talk to you about opportunities to do additional studies in the United States. Then finally I wanted to echo some of the thoughts our Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said recently about the importance of women in business.
The U.S.-India Business Relationship
I first started coming to India with my wife 20 years ago. As a foreigner in India you see change happen dramatically every time you return to India, whereas Indians see incremental change happen every day. In 1992, very few foreign companies were operating in India. Fewer Indian companies were operating globally. Computers were scarce. The internet was non-existent. Dr. Manmohan Singh was not the Prime Minister, but the Finance Minister, just launching the reforms that would open up India to becoming one of the world’s leading economies.
And today, India has leapfrogged into the future. Today there are 800 million cellphones in India connecting almost every village and town across this vast country. In 2008, India fired a rocket at the moon and helped to prove that water vapor exists there. India today is one of only six countries who have launched satellites into orbit. India is only one of three countries that produces supercomputers. India boasts the second largest community of software designers, after the U.S. One hundred of the Fortune 500 companies have research facilities in India. Trade between the U.S. and India is expected to top $100 billion dollars (or 550,000 crore rupees). It is a truly amazing economic transformation.
Of course, there continue to be work left to be done to advance the Prime Minister’s goal of inclusive growth – a discriminatory manufacturing policy, complex defense offsets, transparency concerns and retroactive tax provisions. These are serious challenges, but challenges that I am confident that India can address with the help of its many foreign partners.
Studying in the United States
One of the most exciting parts of our growing relationship are the American students that come to visit India and the many Indian students that travel to America to study. Last year we had 104,000 Indian students studying in the U.S. These students form bonds with the United States that last a lifetime. I have college friendships with Indian students that have lasted 25 years. Many of India’s Union cabinet members, university professors and corporate CEOs have shared this experience of studying in the U.S.
What we also know is that it is also challenging to find the right academic program in the U.S. Then you have to find the money to finance your studies and qualify for a visa. Let me offer some advice if you are interested in studying in the U.S. First, your first stop should be the U.S.-India Educational Foundation which is sponsored by the U.S. and Indian governments and provides free advice and resources for prospective students. Their website is: USIEF.org.in
They also have a toll-free student advising telephone number 1-800-103-1231.
Women as Business Innovators
Let me conclude by offering some brief thoughts about the role of women as business leaders.
In a case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1980, an Indian-American woman scientist, Dr. Ananda Chakrabaty, won the argument that persons may be granted patents for useful manufacture of living organisms. She defeated the U.S. Patent Office, that argued that living things may not be patented, thus establishing the legal foundation for the biotech industry. Dr. Chakrabaty invented a microbe that eats oil spills.
The truth is that throughout history women have been at the cutting edge of economic change and business innovation. What is equally true, however, is that there remain significant barriers for women entrepreneurs in the West and in developing countries.
In September, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "With economic models straining in every corner of the world, none of us can afford to perpetuate the barriers facing women in the workforce." Barriers of law and custom mean that women in developing economies may have no right to inherit land or businesses, or less access than men to land and good quality farm inputs. In more developed economies women still earn less than men, and have fewer opportunities.
A Goldman Sachs report says America's GDP would grow by 9 percent if barriers to women's workforce participation were lowered. These changes would be even more dramatic in Europe, 13 percent, and in Japan, 16 percent.
A Boston Consulting Group survey concluding that women will control $15 trillion in global spending by the year 2014 and be responsible for two-thirds of consumer spending worldwide by 2028.
Secretary Clinton concluded, “There is a stimulative and ripple effect that kicks in when women have greater access to jobs and the economic lives of our countries,” including greater political stability, fewer military conflicts, more food and better educational opportunity for children.
My little girl is only seven. I hope that she will return to India in 20 years to find a country that has not only realized all of its hopes to become a highly-developed and inclusive society, but also one that has recognized the essential leadership role that women must play in reaching these lofty goals.
Thank you and I look forward to taking your questions.