US-India CEO Forum Infrastructure Invesment Conference
29-30 October 2007 : The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower : Mumbai (India)
The US-India CEO Forum, co-chaired by Mr. Ratan N Tata, Chairman, Tata Sons and Mr. William B Harrison, Former Chairman & CEO, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. organized the India Infrastructure Investment Conference 2007 with an objective to provide inputs to Central and State Government officials to attract US firms for investment in infrastructure. Mr. Henry M Paulson Jr, US Treasury Secretary was the Guest of Honour. The event was held on 29 – 30 October 2007 at Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Mumbai.
The India Infrastructure Investment Conference 2007, was also attended by the Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission - discussed the investment opportunities in Indian Infrastructure for US and Indian firms.
The India Infrastructure Investment Conference 2007 presented large infrastructure investment opportunities available in India and also shared experiences and best practices in infrastructure investments. The conference provided an opportunity for networking between US firms and leading Indian infrastructure development and financing companies who may serve as potential partners.
Welcoming the representatives from India and USA, Mr. Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Sons urged the business communities to effectively utilize the forum to strengthen the economic relations between both the countries. “With inadequate infrastructure availability in India, this sector is seen as a high priority area”, said Mr. Tata. “Till date, US participation in Indian infrastructure projects has been low. With the US bringing in advanced technology and expertise in infrastructure financing and India poised for major development, both sides should work towards developing infrastructure projects.” Speaking on the investment opportunity in India, Mr. P. Chidambaram, Union Finance Minister, Government of India, said ‘Financing infrastructure is critical. Currently, India needs to raise USD 488 Billion for infrastructure over the next five years. In order to sustain growth of the economy, it is imperative to raise infrastructure spending from 5% to 9% 0f GDP by 2012 and we believe that 70% of this investment must come from the public sector and 30% from the private sector. The drivers of infrastructure investment would be Public Private Partnership and opening key sectors to private investment.’
Talking about the major challenges in financing infrastructure projects, the Finance Minister recommended that pension funds should be directed to infrastructure projects, he stated that external Commercial Borrowings (ECBs) should be more flexible and a broad, deep and active corporate bond market should be developed. He also mentioned that public funds should not be employed in private projects rather private funds should be deployed in public projects.
Expressing confidence in the country’s infrastructure capacity, the Finance Minister said the country is capable of absorbing such huge requirement for the Infrastructure projects, and encouraged the visiting corporate heads of United States to pass the positive message to their counterparts on the existing opportunities in India.
Talking on improving India’s physical infrastructure Mr. Henry M Paulson, Jr, US Treasury Secretary said ‘Over 30 US firms represented at this conference are a resource for realizing the USD 500 Billion estimate for investment in roads, ports, housing, railways, airports, and telecommunication over the next 5 years. He also talked about taking forward the proposal for developing Mumbai as an IFC.
Later in the day, Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission of India participated in a session with Mr. Allan Hubbard, Director, National Economic Council (US) to give an overview of the infrastructure sector in India. He said there are four sets of companies that will be interested in the infrastructure space in India: technical consultants, construction companies, project developers and financiers. He stated that while a business-as-usual scenario will lead to investment of about $330 bn, the participation of all these companies will enable a significant step up. The session was moderated by Mr. Mukesh Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Industries.
The India Infrastructure Investment Conference was organized to facilitate greater US investment in India’s infrastructure development. Besides government dignitaries, the conference includes participation of infrastructure finance professionals from top US and Indian financial firms, top Indian and US infrastructure development firms and Indian Central and State government officials focused on infrastructure development.
The other prominent speakers and panelists from Indian Industry included Mr. Tarun Das, Chief Mentor, Confederation of India Industry (CII), Dr. Rajiv B Lall, Managing Director & CEO, IDFC Ltd., Mr. G.V. Sanjay Reddy, Vice Chairman, GVK Industries Ltd., and Mr. Vinayak Chatterjee, Co-Chairman, CII Infrastructure Council & Chairman, Feedback Ventures Pvt. Ltd.
Participants from the Central Government included Dr. D. Subbarao, Finance Secretary, Government of India, Mr. Ashok Chawla, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India, Mr. M. Ramachandran, Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India, Mr. Anil Razdan, Secretary, Ministry of Power, Government of India, and Mr. Brahm Dutt, Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India Speakers and panelists from US government agencies and private sector companies included Mr. James Lambright, Chairman and President, Export-Import Bank of the United States, Mr. Joseph Azelby, Managing Director, JP Morgan Chase, Mr. Emil Henry, Managing Director, Lehman Brothers, Mr. Richard H. Frank, Chief Executive Officer, Darby Overseas Investments and Mr. Tracy Wolstencroft, Managing Director & Head (Global Infrastructure and Municipal Finance), Goldman Sachs.
About US-India CEO Forum
With trade growing at over 20 percent annually between the United States and India, the two countries have embarked on a new era of partnership encompassing an array of strategic interests. The US-India CEO Forum, constituted by President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in July 2005, was one of the initiatives for enhancing bilateral trade and investment. Comprising 10 CEOs each, from both countries, the CEO Forum was given a mandate to develop a roadmap for increased partnership and cooperation between the two countries at a business level.
The CEO Forum presented their report and recommendations for enhancing trade and investment, titled “US-India Strategic Economic Partnership” in March 2006. The CEO Forum continues its engagement by providing inputs to the two governments on impediments, issues and opportunities towards enhanced trade and investment flows and, where possible, also facilitates the implementation of select recommendations. The forum aims to create an ‘enabling environment’ by bringing business leaders together to build the bridges of the 21st century. For further details, visit www.usindiaceoforum.com
The Inaugural Session and the Special Plenary Session of the "US - India CEO Forum Infrastructure Investment Conference" could be viewed at http://wstech.wstream.net/ceo (or) log on to www.usindiaceoforum.com