June 13, 2023
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia, International Trade Administration
Country Head and CEO, Marsh & McLennan India
Senior Vice President and Global Deputy General Counsel, TransUnion
Partner, The Asia Group
The increasing number of U.S. investments in India has been a catalyst for inclusive economic growth. This infusion of capital supports greater opportunities for organizations and businesses in India while strengthening ties between the two countries.
During the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 48th annual India Ideas Summit, leaders discussed how the partnership between the U.S. and India is paving the way for economic advancement by building up the U.S.’s position in the Indo-Pacific region and fostering a more inclusive and prosperous future for all.
The Growing U.S.-India Commercial Relationship Is Based on Common Values and Commitments
Pamela Phan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia with the International Trade Administration, discussed the priorities of the U.S. Department of Commerce within the U.S.-India commercial relationship.
“This is a growing economic partnership … made possible because India and the U.S. share a set of common values grounded in our democratic traditions … and free, open, rules-based order across the Indo-Pacific,” explained Phan.
As the Department of Commerce seeks to strengthen its long-term position in the Indo-Pacific region, Phan highlighted the department's commitment to growing its presence in India and partnering with leaders in the country, including participating in the U.S.-India CEO Forum and the U.S.-India Commercial Dialogue.
“The CEO Forum [has] been focused on … supply chain resilience, energy security, inclusive digital trade, and post-pandemic economic recovery, especially for small businesses,” added Phan.
The Department of Commerce Aims to Drive Inclusive, Equitable Growth
According to Phan, the Department of Commerce’s initiatives aim to drive inclusive and equitable growth in India and beyond.
”Trade and investment can really benefit everybody in society, and not just a small segment of society,” she explained. “The economy can't reach its full potential unless we are providing opportunities to many different communities.”
To that end, Phan highlighted several initiatives by the Department of Commerce to drive that inclusive growth. These include the Global Diversity Export Initiative, aimed at providing global export opportunities to a wider array of businesses, as well as an initiative to provide women-owned businesses the support to leverage digital tools for their growth potential.
“We’re looking to develop tools, solutions, [and] information, and outreach to historically-underserved populations to make sure they’re aware of those opportunities, too,” she said.
Phan also noted that 2023 was the United States' “host year” for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), which brings together leaders from around the world to discuss best practices to create inclusive economic opportunities in the region.
“As part of our host year, we’ve embraced the concepts of interconnectedness, innovation, and inclusivity,” she emphasized.
Creating Alternative Credit Opportunities Can DriveFinancial Inclusion in India
Eli Peterson, Senior Vice President and Global Deputy General Counsel at TransUnion, noted that credit agencies can also help develop inclusive financial growth in India.
“When we think about the market around the world, but specifically in India, there are still hundreds of millions of consumers who are either unserved or underserved when it comes to accessing credit,” Peterson said. “That does not mean that does not equate to millions of consumers who are unable to handle financial obligations; it really means hundreds of millions of consumers who are invisible to lenders.”
To reverse this trend, TransUnion leverages alternative and trended data to create credit profiles for individuals who may not have traditional credit histories. These include trade lines for those in the microfinance space, agricultural yield metrics for rural farmers, and business finance scores for micro, small, and medium enterprises.
Peterson also emphasized that digital transactions will likely be an area of significant growth in India, noting the “tremendous amount of focus and interest and prioritization in … unlocking that digital commerce potential.”
Sanjay Kedia, India CEO of Marsh, agreed that India has vast potential for growth in this sphere.
“India is 4% of the global economy, but 40% of the digital payment transaction happened in India last year. So India is having a disproportionate market share of digital payment,” he emphasized. “I’m … optimistic that India will create inclusive programs … never heard of anywhere in the world, and the scale endeavor will be unbeatable. And that is the promise of India.”
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