Today, Mr. James Golsen – Principal Commercial Officer, United Stated of America Consulate (Commercial Section of Consulate) visited T. A. Pai Management Institute (TAPMI), Manipal to discuss about opportunities available in the USA for Indian communities in the areas of trade and education.
Mr. James Golsen arrived at Chennai in July 2011. He is responsible for advocating U.S. commercial interests and organizing trade promotion activities in South India. In this capacity, he manages the U.S. Commercial Service offices in Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Previously he served as the Commercial Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand and Commercial Consul at the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai, China. Mr. James Golsen’s previous assignment was in Memphis, Tenn., working as the Commercial Service liaison at FedEx World Headquarters. Prior to joining the Department of Commerce, Jim worked for the International Division of the United States Chamber of Commerce.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Affairs from Florida State University and a Master’s Degree in International Policy Studies from Middlebury College’s Monterey Institute of International Studies.
Mr. James Golsen began his address by explaining the functions his organization does. He said that the primary function of his office is to help promote business ties between India and US. His office facilitates USA businesses to market their product in India and also help Indian business find partners in the USA.
He reiterated the much hyped bilateral ties between the two countries. One can’t travel anywhere in India or US without having met someone who hasn’t had some experience of the other country. He gave the example of Governors of South Carolina and Louisiana states having Indian origin.
He said that 15 years ago India was the 30th largest trading partner for the USA and it has become the 12th largest partner in current times. He raised concerns that, even though India and USA are very familiar, why are the buyings limited to $100 billion? He said that as a solution to this problem both countries have to look for the areas where the relationship can grow. The relationship and trade just can’t get better without initiatives from either of the countries. The focus should be in the areas of education and SMEs. The entrepreneurs of both the countries have to be encouraged to invest in other countries. As an example, he said that the many of the graduating students of TAPMI, Manipal are going to be entrepreneurs someday. He urged them that when they make their first million and invest another hundred, they should think and find 500 first global employees.
He opined that the Government should create a level playing field and bring the business partners together and then leave it for business owners to run the business. He mentioned that there is immense potential in the USA – Indian trade. Many companies are going to expand. He gave an example of Ford’s new manufacturing facility at Sanand, Gujurat.
He held that USA is coming out of one of the biggest downturns since the big depression. Housing Market, Manufacturing, Banking and many other markets are reviving. The country is finding better opportunities in nations like Japan and the European Union. There is 1.5% to 3% growth of USA economy and 7.9% unemployment. He concluded by saying that for businesses in both the countries to flourish, trade barrier embedded in domestic politics, policies have to be removed.
The lecture was followed by an interactive session where in the speaker was engaged answering thought provoking questions put forth by the students present. In one of his responses, he stated that his office in the USA Consulate is engaging with students to keep them informed about the opportunities of education in USA. He informed that India is the 2nd largest source of foreign students in USA.
There is a perception of zero–sum game. The USA is losing out due to outsourcing and India is losing out due to walls raised by the USA. But, businesses are growing and FDIs are increasing, hence negating the former statement. Some business models are created to circumvent immigration laws that are not good for any country. Hence, any country has to be careful about it, thus making it necessary for measures to be prevalent to avoid any problem.
Opining about the work related opportunities in USA; he said that in certain sectors unemployment is very high. But there are sectors and places where the unemployment rate is low. With proper skill sets there is a high possibility of getting good jobs.
The question answer session ended with a vote of thanks. This guest lecture by Mr. James Golsen kept the audience involved throughout. It served as a platform for important insights that the students gained through this lecture.