- The Washington Times - Monday, December 12, 2011

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland officials’ recent six-day trade mission to India netted the state nearly $60 million in investment from foreign businesses, Gov. Martin O’Malley said Monday.

More than 100 state officials and business leaders spent Nov. 28 to Dec. 3 in India, where they met with potential investors, trade partners and Indian government officials.

Mr. O’Malley, a Democrat, said that several Maryland businesses made lucrative deals with Indian companies during the trip, and that the state convinced two notable companies to build new facilities in Maryland.

“This mission has opened new doors for Maryland to create jobs, bolster trade and investment and strengthen existing business and cultural relationships,” he said.

The Maryland delegation visited Mumbai, New Delhi and Hyderabad during the trip in an attempt to take advantage of India’s growing economy and middle class.

Among the deals reached, India-based Jasco Nutri Foods agreed to spend $10 million in Maryland on a new facility, which could generate as many as 100 jobs.

Jubilant Life Sciences, an India-based pharmaceutical company, also announced plans to spend $20 million to triple its existing warehouse space on the Eastern Shore.

Eight other Maryland businesses signed deals or joint ventures with Indian companies, including Baltimore-based Premier Rides, which signed a $7-million deal to build an attraction at a new theme park in India.

“The global economic situation requires companies to be very dynamic and to be able to react quickly where the opportunities are emerging,” company President Jim Seay said.

Maryland officials have touted the need to expand trade and business opportunities into other countries in an effort to mine untapped foreign economies and bring jobs to the state.

Earlier this year, a state delegation visited China, South Korea and Vietnam and secured more than $85 million in investment.

India is Maryland’s 12th-largest export market, receiving $233 million in goods and services from the state last year.

Christian S. Johansson, the state’s secretary of business and economic development, said that number represents a 70 percent increase from 2005.

“Maryland companies need to be where the best opportunities are,” he said. “I dare you to find another opportunity or a market that has been as beneficial to our businesses.”

State officials said Monday that the trip cost taxpayers about $140,000. The state paid for Mr. O’Malley and a handful of state officials, while most attendees paid their own way.

Mr. O’Malley said he expects state delegations next year to visit Brazil and possibly Africa.



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