US companies now eye smaller cities for biz opportunities: Powell

US companies now eye smaller cities for biz opportunities: Powell Jaipur: American companies are increasingly scouting for new business opportunities beyond Delhi and Bangalore in places like Kerala and Rajasthan, the US Ambassador to India Nancy J Powell said on Thursday.

"American business is increasingly looking at different states. Earlier, most business coming to India were in Delhi or may be to Bangalore, but now they are actively looking at different states and opportunities there," Powell said.

"We in present have consulates in Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai and Mumbai but we are interested in what is happening in towns outside Metros. I have been to Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and now in Rajasthan. There are opportunities to peruse...Jaipur is growing rapidly and a desire to attract foreign investment," she said.

Powell told reporters that the US-India trade is expected to cross USD 100 billion mark this year and this would increase investments in both the US and India.

When asked about the US' views on political establishment and investment in Gujarat, she said the US was observant of what happened in 2002 and the progress regarding the matter, but at the same time the US continues to work with Gujarat.

"We watched very carefully what happened in 2002 and progress in courts and elsewhere but we also continue to work with Gujarat government," she said.

Powell met chief minister of Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot yesterday and showed interest in setting up an American Business Desk in the city to find out the possibilities of business here.

She also discussed possibilities in the solar energy space.

Today, she met with Governor Margaret Alva and also with business people to identify major areas of cooperation with a special focus on increasing bilateral trade and investment.

Powell today had a separate session with businessmen organised by the FICCI. She emphasised that opportunities rest with the US and India business tie-ups in various sectors, specially in context with Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) passing through Rajasthan.

Gyan Prakash, Director FICCI Rajasthan State Council, said that bilateral relations between two countries can intensify with more industry dialogue.

"There are ample opportunities of segments like Textile, Jewellery, Power, Renewable Energy and Food Processing for Rajasthan and US to have trade relations," he said.

PTI