Anand Mahindra, Mukesh Ambani and LN Mittal each had a different pitch to charm Donald Trump
- US President
Donald Trumpmet with some of India’s biggest businessmen during his two-day visit.
- Reliance Industries chairman
Mukesh Ambaniinformed Trump that Reliance Jiois the only company in the world that doesn’t use Chinese components.
- Mahindra Group chairman
Anand Mahindratold Trump that his company would be happy to invest another billion dollars in the US if the upcoming bid for US Postal Service delivery vans comes through.
Trump laughed about 5G with Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, discussed US postal delivery vans with Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra and even caught up with Infosys CEO Salil Parekh.
Trump kicked off the interaction with Indian companies with a strong pitch saying, "If you would like to ask some questions and find out how much you should invest in the US, I’ll tell you exactly where to invest, and how to invest."
5G and energy
The Hurun Global Rich List 2020 named Ambani the ninth richest man on the planet worth $67 billion. He’s also the world’s fourth-richest fossil-fuel billionaires as per Bloomberg.
"We are investors in the US in the energy sector and have invested $7 billion towards that," Ambani told Trump who replied, "$7 billion, yeah, big one."
Reliance Industries trades fuel in North America and also has multiple investments in US shale gas projects. In June last year, the company even roped in a new firm to help with the lobbying.
Ambani also told Trump that Reliance Jio is the only network in the world "that doesn’t have a single Chinese component." Trump replied with a chuckle, "Well, that’s good. Put a bid in."
According to the company records, Jio has only partnered with non-Chinese equipment manufacturers like South Korea-based Samsung. The US and Trump especially, have famously been lobbying against the Chinese manufacturer Huawei’s 5G technology — alleging that the company shares data with its government.
Indian car companies have an edge when it comes to right-handed diesel vehicles
Anand Mahindra told Trump that his company has already invested $1 billion in the US and will happily invest another billion — if the contract with the United States Postal Services comes through.
"Right now, we’re in the shortlist of the pick for the United States Postal Service new delivery van — a decision which should come by the end of the year. And when that comes through, we will very happily put in another billion and employ about 2,000 people," he said.
"That’s a big business," Trump replied after finding out that the project involved the production of 180,000 vans.
Although normal cars in the US have left-handed driving, postal vans need the steering wheel to be on the right. Mahindra pointed out that Indian automotive manufacturers are ideal for the project since they specialise in right-handed driving diesel vehicles.
Protecting domestic manufacturing
Lakshmi Mittal lauded Trump for saving the US steel industry. "Section 232 has been the big lesson for the rest of the world on how to support domestic manufacturing. And this is what we expect the other countries to learn: that they should support domestic manufacturing, not made in China," he said.
Trump pointed out that aluminium and steel industries are integral to any country.
"Steel you need, from a military — and aluminium you need. You got to have the aluminium. But steel you need probably more than anything else. You have to have it," he said.
Going forward, Mittal noted that ArcelorMittal has plans to announce a multi-million dollar investment for a new steel plant, probably in the US state of Alabama.
Technology in the US
Salil Parekh told Trump that Infosys has invested around $525 million in the US market over the past two years creating 24,000 employees across six new centres.
However, Mohan Reddy — founder of technology company Cyient — expressed concerns about administrative and legislative challenges that remain despite reforms.
"We’re going to cut a lot more regulations. And, we’re going to also have regulations because I think you need regulation for safety and for the environment. But no President has ever cut anywhere close to what we’ve done." said Trump.
Trump’s bid for getting re-elected
When Ambani thanked Trump for his measure on making business easier in the US, the President said, "But if the wrong person gets elected, that won’t happen at all."
He added that if he doesn’t get re-elected in the upcoming US Presidential Election, the unemployment in India will surge to 8 to 10%.
"When we win re-election — and I think we will — when we win, I think the market is going to go up like — it’s going to be like a rocket ship. Like last time, but even more so," Trump told another participant.
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