Kaine announces world trade conference


RICHMOND Governor Timothy M. Kaine has announced that the Ambassador of India to the United States Ronen Sen will serve as a keynote speaker during the 2008 Virginia Conference on World Trade.  

Sponsored by MeadWestvaco (MWV) and The Tata Group of India, the conference will showcase the opportunities and demystify the challenges of doing business in Virginia and India.

Virginia has seen first-hand during its trade missions that Indias vibrant economy provides many opportunities for Virginia businesses, Kaine said. This conference will bring together the best and the brightest in Virginia and India to help strengthen our relationships and continue the momentum that Virginia has built in India. 

The conference, hosted by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) and the Virginia Port Authority (VPA), in partnership with the U.S. India Business Council, will be held October 15-16 at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott.

Virginia is the first state to focus on India in its World Trade Conference and I deeply appreciate and welcome this innovative initiative, said Ambassador Sen. I have no doubt that it will help forge even stronger ties of trade and investment between the business communities of India and the U.S.

Virginia has worked to cultivate a relationship with India for the past four years. Former Governor Mark Warner led Virginias first trade mission to India in 2005 with a delegation of more than 70 Virginia business leaders. Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Patrick O. Gottschalk led the Commonwealths second India mission in 2007 with a delegation of more than 100 business executives.

Virginia has also maintained a presence in India in the form of three trade missions and four investment seminars led by VEDP. VPA operates offices in India, and the Virginia International Trade Alliance (VITAL), a coalition of companies across the Commonwealth dedicated to the advancement of international trade and investment, includes a taskforce specifically devoted to India.

India is one of the worlds largest economies and is critical to the global marketplace, said John A. Luke Jr., chairman and CEO of MWV.  As a company that supports and shapes the worlds leading consumer brands, MWV is committed to growing in the Indian marketplace and developing innovative customer solutions for this high growth market. We are enthusiastic about the opportunities the conference will bring to Virginia and India businesses alike.

The Tata Group is Indias largest global business group, comprising a diverse array of companies including car and truck manufacturing, steel production, luxury hotels, and beverages as well as software and telecommunications, with total revenues this year of $50 billion. We see Virginia as an important part of our expansion in the United States and already have three offices in the state, said David P. Good, the Tata Groups Chief North American Representative, who is based in Arlington. We are pleased to serve as the India host for this years conference and look forward to participating in the sessions.

India is the world’s fourth largest economy and the largest democracy. The middle class totals 350 million people, which is larger than the entire U.S. population. The growth of Indias economy and middle class has outpaced its infrastructure, offering opportunities for Virginia companies involved in construction and engineering services, energy generation and distribution, information technology equipment and transportation.  Indian exports to the U.S. reached $24 billion in 2007 and U.S. exports to India totaled $17.6 billion.

For conference registration and sponsorship information, please contact Terri Noll at (804) 545-5764 or tnoll@yesvirginia.org.