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Inauguration of India Engineering Center by Mr. Kamal Nath the Hon'ble Minister of Commerce and Industry

September 27, 2005

Engineering Export Promotion Council of India has established an India Engineering Center at 1601 Feehanville Drive, Suite 200, Kensington Center, Mount Prospect, Chicago IL 60056, showcasing the manufacturing skills and capabilities of a number of Indian engineering companies under one roof. The Center would help build confidence in local business community about skill, expertise and quality of engineering products manufactured by Indian industries. 

Mr. Kamal Nath, Hon’ble Minister of Commerce and Industry, inaugurated the Center on September 27, 2005, by performing the traditional ceremony of ribbon cutting & Lamp lighting, with Ms Irvana Wilks, Mayor of Mount Prospects. Mr. Arun Kumar, Hon’ble Consul General of India in Chicago, Mr. Amit Mitra, Secretary of FICCI, Mr. S. Regunathan, Chief Secretary of Delhi and Mr. C.S. Shukla, Executive Director, EEPC were also present. Members of local business community and representatives of Indian exporters were also present along with the invited guests. 

Hon’ble Minister and Ms Wilks went around the Center and were happy to see the skill and quality of products displayed. The Hon’ble Minister of India presented a memento of sandalwood carving to Ms Wilks. While thanking for kind gesture appreciated the efforts put in by EEPC for providing a platform to the business community of USA, She wished success to the Center and promised to extend all help.

Local business community was also impressed with the skill and quality of goods displayed and evinced interest in exploring the possibilities of entering into business exercise. 

After light refreshment, the venue of the event was changed from the premises of the Center to the Banquet hall. EEPC hosted a dinner reception in honor of the VIPs and invitees. 

On behalf of Chairman and Members of EEPC, Shri Shrikar Dole, the Chief Operating Officer of the IEC thanked the Hon’ble Minister of Commerce and Industry, Govt. of India for sparing his valuable time and visiting Chicago to inaugurate the India Engineering Center, the flagship project of EEPC. He also thanked the Hon’ble Minister for his guidance, encouragement and help in effectively translating the ideas of IEC into a reality. Shri Dole also welcomed & thanked Shri Arun Kumar, Hon’ble Consul General of India in Chicago for extending all support in timely completion and successful inauguration of IEC. The gracious presence of Shri Amit Mitra, Secretary General of FICCI, Shri S. Regunathan, Chief Secretary of Delhi and Shri C.S. Shukla, ED, EEPC was also acknowledged with thanks by Shri Dole. He then invited the Chairman of EEPC, Shri Rakesh Shah to deliver the Welcome Address.

Shri Rakesh Shah at the outset thanked Shri Kamal Nath, Hon’ble Minister of Commerce and Industry; Shri Arun Kumar, Hon’ble Consual General of India in Chicago; Shri S. Reghunathan, Chief Secretary of Delhi; Shri Amit Mitra, Secretary General of FICCI; Shri C.S. Shukla, ED, EEPC; captains of engineering industry of USA and distinguished guests for attending the inauguration function of IEC. He said that the inauguration of IEC marks the fulfillment of long cherished dream of EEPC for projecting the most competitive skills and workmanship of Indian engineering industry to the most developed nations like USA, the land of liberty, equality and fraternity. He once again acknowledged the guidance and help of the Hon’ble Minister, in the absence of which IEC would have remained a distant dream.

Mr. Shah said that the IEC had been set up under the Market Access Initiative Scheme of Government of India through Ministry of Commerce and Industry. He also thanked the Consul General and officers of the Consulate for lending support in making IEC happen. Mr. Shah observed that 27th September was a very special day as exactly 112 years ago in 1893, on that very day an Indian Monk visited Chicago and addressed its people as brother and sisters and shared his views of brotherhood in the Parliament of Religion what is now known as Art Institute of Chicago. He also recalled with reverence the visit of Swami Vivekananada who brought with him the light of the East. He said that on 27th September 2005, exactly 112 years later EEPC was able to showcase the wide range of Indian engineering products and services in the same city. He compared the export of Indian engineering products to USA to exporting coal to New Castle. However, he said, that it was the conviction of EEPC that Indian products have gained more and more acceptance in the developed countries of Europe. He pointed out that 40% of engineering products from India are being exported to USA and European community. Because of ever increasing competition and complexity of supply chain, every manufacturer has to remodel and reshape the entire process of manufacture and supply. To meet this challenge, EEPC took cognizance of the emerging paradise and decided to strengthen its presence in the US market by setting up this Center. He said that IEC was envisioned as a multipurpose outlet for Indian companies to display and market their products in US and cater to the growing markets of Latin American countries. The Center will help build confidence of importers in Indian engineering products after having physically satisfying themselves about quality and workmanship. The storage facility of IEC will help exporters meet the requirement of importers at short notice. He informed the participants that EEPC had entered into an agreement with M/s Shanker of US for providing logistics and supply chain management.

Before concluding, Mr. Shah shared few facts of Indo US bilateral trade and said that USA is the largest trading partner with India and that it enjoyed the favorable balance in the export of engineering goods. The export of these goods to USA had touched the figure of $ 4 billion last years. This volume of trade was considered too small in view of the volume of engagements US has with other emerging markets of the world. Concluding his address, the Chairman of EEPC sincerely hoped that Indo-US relationship will flourish in the time to come to the mutual benefit of both the economies and people of both the countries. He thanked the audience for patient hearing.

Mr. C.S.Shukla, Executive Director of EEPC informed that the Center would participate in various trade fairs and organize seminars and one to one meetings. He was happy to note that about 50 leading companies from India like Tata Motors, Kalyani Forge, EL Forge etc have displayed their engineering products. He expressed full confidence in the success of the IEC. He stated that the Center had been established after conducting an in-depth survey of the US market about the demand of Indian engineering goods. A total of 13000, small and big, business houses are represented by the EEPC. Further, EEPC has 13 offices in India for effective and quick coordination and 4 overseas offices in Chicago, Germany, South Africa, & Singapore. EEPC is not a stranger to US as its office was established in Chicago way back in 1965. He assured local business representatives that EEPC would continue to coordinate actively between them & the exporters of India for swift and smooth trade between the two countries.

Shri Kamal Nath, Hon’ble Minister of Commerce and Industry, GOI, while wishing good evening to the participants expressed his delight to see the showcasing of Indian engineering and technical skills in the form of finished products of international standards. He also reiterated the importance of the day of inauguration by recalling the visit of reverend Swami Vivekananda to Chicago 112 years ago. He recalled Swami Vivekananda’s address to the Parliament of Religion, attended by the people of Chicago and gave message of brotherhood and harmony. He said that the message was relevant even today in the existing scenario of the world.

The Hon’ble Minister said that nobody thought 112 years ago that India would be recognized as country of great ethos, of great culture, a country with history and capability of showcasing not only its heritage, not only its culture but also its engineering products. He said no body would have thought 3 decades ago of the synergy between India and the United States in the manufacturing sector and that the Indian manufactured engineering goods would be used in the manufacturing sector of USA. World is undergoing a vast change. 

The Hon’ble Minister reiterated that with its growth rate of 7 to 8 percent, the reservoir of human resource of India would not deplete. While in other countries of the world there is growing gray population, India is a young country, a country that has technicians, engineers, doctors, in abundance. It is this paradigm shift, in the changing economic architecture of the world, countries like India and United States need to synergize their skills and their trends to bring the businesses of two countries together to build upon each other’s strengths. He appreciated the efforts of both countries entrepreneurs in building up the trade and seeing Indian experience in manufacturing skill, India’s intellectual abilities, India’s entrepreneurial policies etc. It is this trend, which will go towards creating new partnerships in economic industrial fields, which will be a win-win situation for both India and US. Finally he stressed the need for greater engagement between the two big democracies of the world. The Hon’ble Minister thanked the audience for patient listening. 

Shri Shrikar Dole apprised the invited guests about the role of Center in abridging the gap between the Indian exporters and importers in USA. He said that Center will make all out efforts to bring more and more business houses of both the countries together for the mutual benefit. India Engineering Center has been established as a permanent exhibition of engineering products. The Center will also facilitate meetings of the buyers and sellers through video conferencing, buyer-seller meets, regular seminars, participation in international seminars so that there is more interaction between the Buyers and member exporters. He then invited the Hon’ble Consul General of India to speak.

Addressing the VIPs and guests, the Hon’ble Consul General, Shri Arun Kumar, said: “today is a great day for us and for EEPC”. He said ever since he assumed the office of CG in Chicago he had been in constant touch with EEPC, advising and discussing this project. He thanked Mr. Shukla for having taken the initiative of creating IEC and locating a suitable site for the Center. He observed that the site is not only strategically located but is also economical for running as it has comfortable space for displaying items and room for accommodating requests of more and more companies who may join later. He said that the County which was mainly engaged in supply of milk to the city some years back has now been found fit for projection of industrial products. He said within last two decades India has been able to take great stride by displaying to the world the Indian skill and expertise in manufacture of industrial products, and that the products have gained more and more acceptance in all the developed and developing countries. He wished for the success of the Center and hoped that more and more Indian industries will become member of the Center. He advised EEPC to concentrate more on small-scale industries. He shared his experience of his assignments in Rome and in Milan where his discussions with the representatives of big business houses reveal that success of big industrial houses is dependent on small household industries. The big companies are dependent on the supply of components from small industrial houses. He also advised that EEPC might not ignore small industries in the Midwest for making big bases for the consumption of Indian industrial products. He envisioned great growth of Indian industrial products in USA through the EEPC’s flag-ship project of IEC.

Consul General appreciated the hard and sincere work put in by Chief Operating Officer with very limited staff in the completion and inauguration of the Center within a very short time. He wished Shri Dole all success. 

Concluding his remarks, Shri Arun Kumar proposed vote of thanks to the Minister, which was seconded by the Chief Secretary of Delhi. The vote of thanks was passed unanimously amid thunderous applause.

Chairman of EEPC once again thanked the VIPs and invited the guests for dinner and informal networking.