12-03-2016  3:33 am      •     

MUMBAI, India (AP) — Indian and U.S. companies have discussed or signed over $14.9 billion in deals around President Barack Obama's trip that will support 53,670 U.S. jobs, the White House said.

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The U.S. export content of the deals, estimated at $9.5 billion, won't go far to settle America's trade deficit, which was $46.3 billion in August alone, but the numbers are testament to India's growing importance as a global market and have provoked a swell of pride here.

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"I want to be able to say to the American people when they ask me, well, why are you spending time with India, aren't they taking our jobs?" Obama told reporters in New Delhi Monday. "I want to be able to say, actually, you know what, they just created 50,000 jobs. And that's why we shouldn't be resorting to protectionist measures. We shouldn't be thinking that it's just a one-way street."

KPMG India executive director Pradeep Udhas, who is also president of the Indo-U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the deals are significant less for their absolute value than their message.

"A two-way street between the U.S. and India has started," he said. "It's important in terms of sending out a message to U.S. constituencies that India is not just some Third World country. It's actually a huge market."

India is also a growing investor in the U.S. From 2004-2009, Indian companies invested over $26 billion in the U.S., creating more than 55,000 jobs, according to KMPG.

"For five decades after Independence, Indians looked up to the rest of the world for aid, technology and capital. Now, the world looks upon India as a dynamic creator of jobs and income opportunities," India's Economic Times editorialized Monday.

"It would, at this point of time, be safe to say that the U.S. needs India more," Anil Padmanabhan wrote in the Indian business daily, Mint, on Monday.

Boeing Co. and General Electric Co. walked away with the richest deals, worth $6.8 billion and $1.6 billion, respectively.

The biggest single deal is Boeing's long-discussed sale of 10 C-17 transport aircraft, which will give the Indian Air Force the largest fleet of C-17s outside the U.S., according to the White House. The preliminary agreement values the sale at $4.1 billion, less than the anticipated $5.8 billion. Boeing says the sale will support 22,160 U.S. jobs.

Indian airline SpiceJet also agreed to buy 30 B737-800 planes from Boeing, in a $2.7 billion transaction that will support 12,970 jobs.

GE was selected last month to provide the Indian Aeronautical Development Agency with 107 F414 engines for Tejas light combat aircraft, in a deal tentatively valued at $822 million, which will support 4,440 jobs in the U.S.

India's Ministry of Railways also selected GE Transportation and LaGrange, Illinois-based Electro-Motive Diesel as the two sole bidders to make 1,000 diesel locomotives over the next decade, in a deal that could be worth over $1 billion.

On Saturday, Reliance Power signed a $750 million turbine deal with General Electric, and on Sunday finalized an agreement with the U.S. Export-Import Bank to provide up to $5 billion in financing for U.S. exports.

Reliance Power said it is negotiating an additional $1.25 billion worth of equipment deals with U.S. companies which it declined to name.

Those deals pale in comparison with Reliance Power's recent China purchases. Less than two weeks ago, Reliance Power announced a $10 billion order for power generation equipment for its coal-based power plants from China's Shanghai Electric Group Co. Ltd., and secured a $12 billion financing package for Chinese exports from a consortium of Chinese banks.

Still, the flurry of activity may help ease the dismay GE and other private companies have felt at India's strict nuclear liability law, which extends liability to suppliers of nuclear plants, stymieing their efforts to participate in India's multibillion nuclear reactor build-out. America led the diplomatic push to restart nuclear trade with India, despite its weapons program.

 

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