WTCAR Hosts Arkansas-India Virtual Business Summit

Mar 07, 2022

ROGERS — India is working with several chambers of commerce in the southern United States, including Arkansas, to highlight immense opportunities for investment, according to the Aseem R. Mahajan, who leads India’s consulate in Houston.

On Feb. 22, Mahajan joined state and local business leaders from Walmart, the governor’s office, the Arkansas Department of Commerce and Arvest Bank for the Arkansas-India Virtual Business Summit, which was organized by the World Trade Center Arkansas.

“Trade between India and Arkansas continues to grow,” Mahajan said. “We have a diverse mix of goods, including engineering goods, agricultural products, textiles (and) other food processing products, pharmaceuticals, electrical equipment and farm equipment.

India was among Arkansas’ top 20  trade partners, accounting for $42 million in exports, according to U.S. trade data. Moreover, Arkansas was among India’s top 10 customers, tallying $204 million in imports that same year.

Walmart also has a strong history with India, dating back to when the company began sourcing from Indian companies in the 1990s, said Scott Gutche, Walmart’s senior director of U.S. manufacturing and sourcing. The Bentonville-based retailer has continued to invest in India, making it a “key growth country,” Gutche said.

“What’s good for Arkansas can be good for India,” said Arthur Emmanuel, a retired Walmart advisor. “I’m convinced India can provide quality products at competitive prices and can become a global player by investing in manufacturing facilities in Arkansas.”

Denise Thomas, the Center’s CEO served as moderator. She also noted that World Trade Center Arkansas is here to help companies reach the global market.

“We’re here to help you identify opportunities to export those products from Arkansas,” she said. “And once you’re ready, we will help you look for other potential buyers for your product.”

The mission of the World Trade Center Arkansas is to grow trade and increase Arkansas exports by connecting Arkansas businesses to the world through international trade services. The center is part of the University of Arkansas and serves as the trade promotion arm for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. 

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