In an exclusive phone interview with The Bottom Line while in India Thursday, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin discussed the “extraordinary opportunities” available for Kentucky and the rest of the country with India following his conversation with India’s prime minister.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce selected Bevin to lead an economic development delegation to India to attend the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2019. The trip seeks to strengthen ties with national and state government leaders, industry groups and individual businesses in one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing economies.
The delegation that traveled to India includes the U.S.-India Business Council, leaders of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson, as well as business and industry leaders from Kentucky and other states across the country.
Following a meeting between Gov. Bevin and Narendra Modi, prime minister of India, Bevin told The Bottom Line the two discussed the governor’s Red Tape Reduction initiative, the common values shared between India and Kentucky, and opportunities that exist for a strong partnership.
“We want to make sure that we put our best foot forward. And so, it was an opportunity not only to just sit down with the prime minister, but also to talk about what are the issues that he’s concerned with, what are issues that we’re concerned with, and where do the two meet,” Bevin said. “The importance, above all else, is to have good partnership and good dialogue between our nations because we share a lot of common values and work ethic. And we need one another economically.”
As for what economic ties Kentucky currently has with India, Bevin said there are only about a half dozen Indian-owned companies in Kentucky but believes there is great potential for much more.
“The opportunity is extraordinary. The opportunity for us to be able to sell our goods and services to a nation of 1.3 billion people and the ability to use the capabilities they have in terms of innovation and technology and manufacturing as they expand in into North America, and for them to be able to do that in conjunction with our capabilities and our workforce in Kentucky. We haven’t even begun to scratch the surface,” Bevin said.
Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson spoke on a panel at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit with top executives of American businesses including Lockheed Martin, Uber, and KPMG about how to improve relations between the United States and India.
Adkisson told the crowd “India has 1.3 billion people and one of the fastest growing economies on the planet. Kentucky would like to grow alongside your country by increasing trade and direct investments. Let’s remove any barriers between us!”
Adkisson will also speak to a Global Conclave of International Chambers over the weekend during the India trip.
The delegation returns from the economic development trip next week.