DES MOINES — Gov. Terry Branstad said Monday he is optimistic his first trade mission to India will net future economic development links between Iowa and India companies.
Iowa’s 32-member delegation – which included Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey and Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham — was well-received during stops in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai, the governor said, and was aided by a reception feted by U.S. Ambassador to India Nancy Powell, an Iowa native who graduated from the University of Northern Iowa.
“We had a number of great calls and personal meetings with a number of Indian companies and I’m very hopeful we’re going to see additional economic development investments in Iowa as well as additional growth from Iowa companies here in India as a result of this trip,” Branstad told Iowa reporters during a teleconference from Chennai.
“It’s been a great experience,” said Branstad, who was closing out a week-long mission that also took him to Japan last week. “I think there’s great opportunity here.”
Iowa officials noted there is great respect in India for the work of Iowa native and Green Revolution leader Norman Borlaug and much interest among businesses in India and Iowa to develop economic ties. Branstad said a “significant” project and other investments were in the discussion stages that could net benefits “within a matter of months.”
Durham, who also made her first trip to India, said she was impressed by the richness of the nation’s traditions and heritage, the warmth of people, the optimism surrounding their economy, and the massive infrastructure investment that could enhance efforts to strengthen manufacturing ties with Iowa interests.
Northey said he was impressed by the “very advanced, very technologically savvy folks” he has met in discussing the prospects for future investments and relationships “that could be very positive for Iowa.”
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