MODERATOR: Greetings to everyone from the U.S. Department of State’s London Media Hub. I would like to welcome our participants dialing in from South and Central Asia and around the world for this on-the-record briefing on strengthening the U.S.-India relationship, progress made during the U.S.-India CEO Forum, and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity.
The official who will speak with us today is Gina M. Raimondo, Secretary of Commerce. We will have some opening remarks from our speaker and then she will take questions from participating journalists.
I will now turn it over to Secretary Raimondo for her opening remarks. Ma’am, the floor is yours.
SECRETARY RAIMONDO: Thank you. Good evening, good morning, good afternoon, depending on where you are calling in from. I am here in New Delhi, and it is really an honor to be here, and I want to thank all of the ministers who have so graciously hosted me while I’ve been here. Special thanks to Minister Goyal, my counterpart, and also a special thanks to Minister Singh, who invited me to his home yesterday with his family to celebrate Holi with him, which was a fantastic experience and a great way to learn some – experience an important part of your culture.
I would say overall I am extremely optimistic. This is an optimistic time for U.S.-India relations. Our partnership with India is one of our most consequential relationships, and I’d say one of our most promising bilateral relationships as we look forward. The reason for that, I think, is we share a common set of values grounded around our democratic traditions along with a commitment to promoting a free, open, rules-based order to bolster security and prosperity.
We also share real opportunity to expand our economic relationship, reaffirming our role as trusted partners to each other, creating jobs in both of our countries, establishing more resilient and secure supply chains.
We’re excited to be doing our part at the Commerce Department to pave the way for greater trade and investment between our two economies. Everyone I’ve spoken with today and yesterday in the private sector and in government agrees that this is a moment of significant opportunity for both of our countries, and we have to look to the future, and today and the future, to seize upon these opportunities.
I am very encouraged by the progress that we are making. Minister Goyal and I will convene meetings tomorrow, on Friday, of the U.S.-India Commercial Dialogue and the U.S.-India CEO Forum. I’m thrilled to say that 10 U.S. CEOs of leading U.S. companies traveled with me for the forum and are here in person, and their role working together with their Indian CEO counterparts is to develop for us recommendations for how the two governments can expand commercial ties and create more economic opportunity in both of our countries.
So to say I am filled with optimism about the opportunities that a strengthened U.S.-India economic relationship will bring for years to come, and I sense a similar optimism from U.S. companies and the CEOs that are here but also the CEOs that I spoke with in preparation for this visit. I heard unanimous enthusiasm. Just a few weeks ago, Boeing and Air India announced an order for 228 aircraft, which is a historic deal that reflects the strength of our economic relationship and will support a tremendous number of jobs in the United States.
Semiconductors are another great example of our shared priorities. We’ve had discussions about that all day today. Both the United States and India are implementing semiconductor incentive programs, and we discussed how we could coordinate those investments, which is in both of our interests and ensure the best possible outcome for both of our countries. We would like to see India achieve its aspiration to play a larger role in the electronic supply chain. And to that end, the MOU, memorandum of understanding, that I am signing on this trip around semiconductors is designed to help achieve that goal.
We’re also delighted to be working with India as a part of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, the IPEF. Through the IPEF, the United States, India, and 12 other partners in this region are developing policies to create more resilient and secure supply chains, accelerate progress on our green transitions, and demonstrate our commitment to fostering a better business environment. We’re looking forward to continuing to coordinate closely with India as we proceed expeditiously to deliver meaningful outcomes.
I want to thank the Government of India for its commitment to that enterprise and for hosting a chief negotiator meeting here in India last month on IPEF, which was an extraordinarily successful meeting.
So all of this is to say, in summary and in conclusion, both bilaterally as between India and the United States and multilaterally across the region in IPEF, there’s a tremendous amount that we can do together to accrue to the benefit of both of our economies. So again, I just want to thank the government here for hosting me this week and just reiterate how optimistic we are about the opportunities for an expanded and strengthened U.S.-India economic relationship in the years to come.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Secretary Raimondo. We will now begin with the question-and-answer portion of today’s call. We’ll take a pre-submitted question for our first question, and it comes from Rajesh Rai of Press Trust of India. Rajesh asks, “Is the United States talking to India about joining the trade pillar of IPEF? How hopeful are you for India joining this pillar?”
SECRETARY RAIMONDO: That did not come up today in discussions. Of course, we would like to see all of the IPEF countries participate in all of the pillars. But what I would say is we have had excellent and productive discussions today with several of the ministers about the fact that India has joined the supply chain pillar, the infrastructure pillar, and the tax and anti‑corruption pillar. And we’re making great progress and hope to – hope to have those pillars signed up, including India, by the end of the year.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Operator, if we could go to the first question in the question queue, please?
OPERATOR: That question comes from the line of Shashank Mattoo. Please go ahead.
QUESTION: Good afternoon. Good evening, Secretary Raimondo. I was at your discussion today with CNBC, and you spoke about a formal dialogue with India on semiconductor cooperation. On this call, you’ve talked about this MOU with India on semiconductors. I just wanted to get a sense of whether you could tell us something more about what you have in mind for India and America on the semiconductor dialogue, this MOU that you will be signing, and more broadly what you see the relationship between India and America being on this very critical technology. Thank you very much for your time.
SECRETARY RAIMONDO: Yeah, thank you. So as you know, we are both focused on the semiconductor industry, “we” being the United States and India. And we are in a fortunate situation in that we are both beginning the implementation of our incentive program. So the discussions that we’ve had are around providing transparency in our incentives, coordinating and collaborating on how we administer our semiconductor initiative, working really in a collaborative way, first of all to prevent over-subsidizing certain areas or subsidizing such that there’s a glut of certain kinds of chips.
But also, it’s a huge opportunity at the get-go here to share information, be transparent, coordinate our implementation, together map the supply chain, come up with alignment around assessments of demand for semiconductors and therefore how much supply is needed. We’re – basically feel that we can have a greater benefit for both of our countries if we collaborate in the implementation of our CHIPS program.
MODERATOR: The next question is a pre-submitted question from Sandhya Sharma from Eco. “Do you see any hiccups on U.S.-India collaboration on the semiconductor supply chain issue? Does the United States see India as a balance for China in the semiconductor space?”
SECRETARY RAIMONDO: No, I don’t see any hiccups. As with anything, there are – in the implementation is where the rubber hits the road, as we say in the United States. So no, certainly no hiccups to date, and I don’t foresee any particular hiccups. If anything, my discussions here with both the public sector, Minister Goyal, and the private sector – I had a meeting today with a number of investors and startup semiconductor companies – if anything, I would say it’s just unbridled enthusiasm at this point, and optimism for how we can generate jobs in both of our countries and both share the benefits of a more resilient supply chain. So no, I don’t see any hiccups.
And as for the question of China, this is about making the semiconductor supply chain more resilient, more diversified, and how – which is beneficial for both the United States and India, and how we can work together to achieve that goal.
MODERATOR: Thank you. If we could next go to Maha Siddiqui for the next question, from NDTV.
OPERATOR: Your line is open.
QUESTION: Hi. I just – hi, I just wanted to know whether there’s been any progress on India’s GSP status.
SECRETARY RAIMONDO: I would refer you to USTR for that matter. That’s a matter that Ambassador Tai takes the lead on and is working with Congress on.
MODERATOR: The next question is a pre-submitted question from Kallol Bhattacherjee from The Hindu. “What will be the key proposals and concerns that the United States will bring to the table for the India-U.S. Commercial Dialogue? What are the commercial projects that the two sides are working on under the I2U2 initiative?”
SECRETARY RAIMONDO: Say your question again, please.
MODERATOR: “What will be the key proposals and concerns that the United States will bring to the table for the India-U.S. Commercial Dialogue? What are the commercial projects that the two sides are working on under the I2U2 initiative?
SECRETARY RAIMONDO: So the – as I said in the beginning, our partnership with India is one of the most consequential and promising economic relationships that we have. And the commercial dialogue is intended to work together around supply chains, semiconductors, climate and clean technology, energy, and health care and pharmaceuticals, as well as the digital sector. So it’s not so much that we are targeting any particular commercial transaction or engagement.
But this – what we’re doing is – the private sector is – the CEOs will be coming to us tomorrow, on Friday, with their recommendation for how governments can pave the way for more commercial activity, more co-investment, more foreign direct investment, as among our two countries, in those particular industries that I just mentioned.
MODERATOR: If we could next go to Eric Martin from Bloomberg News?
OPERATOR: Your line is open. Please, go ahead.
QUESTION: Yes, thank you very much, Secretary Raimondo. I wanted to ask you about more specifics, if possible, on the plans for collaboration, if you can say which specific parts of the semiconductor supply chain you’re looking at with India. I know that it’s been an issue where in the past you’ve talked about U.S. firms that were interested in collaborating, but just if you could get into more detail about what you mean by partnership, which specific areas or if any specific firms have yet committed to or expressed interest in participating in this.
SECRETARY RAIMONDO: Hey, Eric. We – no, no specific firms have an interest. I think there’s – I would say this. In preparation for this visit, I spoke with dozens of U.S. CEOs in the electronic supply chain and the semiconductor industry. And I would say, first, there’s a great deal of enthusiasm about India, because it is a large and well-trained workforce. And also there’s a strong desire by those companies to diversify their supply chain and also be more resilient. So the MOU talks about how we will share information about the semiconductor – about semiconductor commercial opportunities between our two countries, how we will have a continued dialogue around policies that would encourage private sector investment in the semiconductor ecosystem. We talked about collaborating as between the U.S. and India to come up with a common picture of supply and demand in the industry. We talked about how we want to come together to map the supply chain and figure out where there might be opportunities for joint ventures or technology partnerships, job training partnerships, research and development partnerships.
So we are looking for near-term commercial opportunities, but also we’re looking here for a longer-term strategic opportunity. Because this isn’t a one-year collaboration; we think this is a five-, ten-, twenty-year collaboration as between the U.S. semiconductor industry and electronic supply chain and India.
MODERATOR: Thank you. We have time for one more question, so if we could please go to the next caller in the queue.
OPERATOR: That comes from the line of Steven Overly. Please go ahead.
QUESTION: Hi, Secretary Raimondo. Thank you for taking the question. I wanted to ask whether export controls have come up in your conversations either in regards to China and semiconductors or Russia and critical technologies related to the war in Ukraine.
And then secondly, you mentioned your timeline for IPEF is to wrap up your three pillars by the end of the year. I wonder if you might just elaborate on kind of what needs to happen to achieve that goal, and how likely that outcome is. Thank you.
SECRETARY RAIMONDO: Yeah, thanks. We’ve talked a lot about export controls in the context of increasing transparency in our working relationship with India. In fact, just today I’m very pleased to say I had a meeting with the minister of external affairs, Dr. Jaishankar, and we launched a new initiative called the India-U.S. Strategic Trade Dialogue. And that will be led in the U.S. by the Commerce Department, and specifically Bureau of Industry and Security, with a focus on export controls. So it’s – this is exciting because it’s an official government-to-government arrangement where we’re going to deepen our engagement with India to – specifically around the area of aligning our export controls and sharing our information with one another.
As it relates to IPEF, I – you always have to work hard in order to hit your goals. I’m confident we’ll hit the goal, and I don’t see any reason that we shouldn’t. And furthermore, I think in addition to just signing the government-to-government agreement, I want to start to see the benefit, the economic benefit for the U.S. and countries in the region of IPEF this year. Once again, there’s no reason that we shouldn’t be able to do that.
MODERATOR: And that concludes today’s call. I am sorry that we could not get to all questions today. I would like to thank Secretary Raimondo for joining us, and I would like to thank all of our callers for participating. If you have any questions about today’s call, you may contact the London International Media Hub at MediaHubLondon@state.gov.
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