MUMBAI - The US consulate in India is talking with large business houses, particularly from the cement and pharmaceuticals industries, to facilitate travel for groups of executives. The move is the part of US President Barack Obama's National Export Initiative. The US government is expecting these corporate visitors to bring in foreign direct investment in the long run.
The focus initially will be on meetings, conferences and exhibitions, a category collectively known as MICE. This is a small but growing part of the amount that Indian travellers spent in the US last year, officials said. In 2013, this figure was $4.9 billion, according to the consulate. "We are doing it on the corporate side as we would want to introduce them to the US," Peter D. Haas, Consul General, US Consulate, said. "We have written to a number of industries, to high-ranking officials in the companies, some of them industries that do a lot of MICE travel." This is a part of an effort to enable large groups of executives to choose US as a destination for corporate travel. Last year, the consulate helped 40 corporate houses visit the US as potential investors. A lot of Indian businesses are looking for places to either expand their businesses, or places to put their money, and the US is receptive to that. A centre has been started in Surat to facilitate trade relations. The consulate is considering setting up two others -- known as American Business Corners-in Pune and Goa, added consulate officials. The US trade consulate has the second largest commercial operations, after China, in India.