ALABAMA OPENS TRADE DEVELOPMENT CENTER IN INDIA
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Ron Sparks, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries, announced Friday the opening of a trade development center in New Delhi, India to seek new opportunities for sales of Alabama products to India.
The state's ag department has been working cooperatively with other Southern states in promoting value-added food products, poultry, pulp and paper, newsprint, and introducing pecans to Indian consumers for the past two years.
According to a news release from the department, because India's economy continues to spur infrastructure improvements, Alabama is well positioned to provide everything from forest products to aircraft parts and agricultural machinery to construction equipment. By opening this center, Alabama companies will have a unique opportunity to have staff on the ground in India seeking a fit for Alabama products into the Indian market.
"India has a population of over one billion," said Sparks from New Delhi, where he was joined by a delegation of Alabama legislators. "Of that one billion, 300 million are considered to be part of the consuming middle class of the country. That is more than the entire population of the United States. At the Department of Agriculture and Industries, we evaluated our companies in Alabama and determined that the Indian market would be a good match for our products."
India is expected to import more than $8 billion in U.S. goods this year. Predictions show that within the next five to 10 years, India will become the second-largest economy in the world behind China and above the United States.
"Some people may ask: Why are these figures for India important to us here in Alabama? Because Alabama companies are poised, ready and able to sell many products to Indian buyers," said Sparks. "For example, poultry meat is one of the fastest-growing sectors on global meat demand, and as you know, Alabama is one of the largest producers of poultry in the U.S. We have been actively seeking additional outlets for our poultry to help our farmers grow and sell more birds."
The center will be funded in part through the Department of Agriculture & Industries as part of the Southern United States Trade Association's (SUSTA) New Delhi operations. The staff, which will consist of foreign nationals from India who have experience with U.S. markets, will promote Alabama products by participating in trade shows and in-store promotions, meeting with prospective importers, working on behalf of Alabama companies to ease import barriers, organizing visits of Alabama companies, and arranging networking opportunities for those companies.
While in India, the Alabama group has visited New Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai. In addition to the opening of the trade center, the delegation met with India?s Secretary of Agriculture, the U.S. Ambassador to India, the Mayor of New Delhi, pulp and paper importers, pet food importers, and visited a veterinary school to discuss the possibility of an exchange program between the school and Auburn University and Tuskegee University. The group will return to Alabama Monday, Feb. 5.
For links to the center and sales to India and other international markets, visit www.agi.alabama.gov.