By Gov. Terry Branstad
This month, Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham, a group of Iowa’s business leaders and I are traveling in India to meet with our contemporaries — leaders in India’s blossoming business community.
It’s no secret that with a world-class work force and ambitious innovators, the business outlook in Iowa is monumentally bright. We’ve lured billions of dollars in capital investment to the state, created jobs and made our mark on the national scene.
As we look to the future, it’s clear that trade missions like these are vital for Iowa and our forward-looking business prospects. These efforts introduce Iowa to new world markets and introduce international customers to the goods and services that Iowa so proudly provides. The long-standing relationships Iowa has built in China are a good example of what we hope to accomplish elsewhere.
Encouraging more Iowa companies to engage in India and, at the same time, more Indian companies to engage in Iowa, will help to further bolster an already fruitful relationship. As this relationship with India grows, we can open the door for more small and midsized Iowa companies, such as Schumacher Elevator in Denver and ESP International in Cedar Rapids.
This is about more than simple dollars and cents; it is about building the necessary relationships to bolster long-term growth. As India’s middle class grows, so too does the nation’s appetite for greater educational opportunities, cultural exchange, health care, energy, biotech and more.
India is a great opportunity for Iowa to lay the groundwork in building relationships across the country. The United States exported $22 billion in goods and services to India last year alone.
As a state, we are well-positioned to help grow the U.S.-India trade relationship. A number of prominent Iowa-based companies can boast operations inside of India, meaning that the conduits of communication and interaction so vital to enhancing global trade already are in place.
Rockwell Collins and DuPont Pioneer, for example, have operations in Hyderabad. Kemin and Emerson have facilities in Chennai. Principal Financial Group conducts business in Pune. And Vermeer Manufacturing has locations throughout India.
As a state, we are committed to fostering this type of growth, working in partnership with similar entities throughout the globe to position Iowa as a magnet for expansion and opportunity.
Exchange across all spectrums is good and helps each nation, our state and companies to better their stakes looking ahead to the future.