Governor Announces September Trade Mission to India

John Reitmeyer | July 16, 2019 | More Issues
Six-city, seven-day visit will focus on technology, manufacturing, clean energy and pharmaceutical industries

Credit: Edwin J. Torres/Governor's Office
Gov. Phil Murphy announces trade mission to India at Asian Indian Chamber of Commerce event in South Plainfield, July 15
Gov. Phil Murphy will be making a trade visit to India in September as part of an ongoing effort to attract more foreign investment to New Jersey. Murphy announced yesterday that the seven-day mission will focus on the technology, manufacturing, clean energy and pharmaceutical industries.

This is the governor’s second international trade mission and the first ever official trip by a New Jersey governor to India. During it, Murphy will make stops in six different cities, and hold meetings with both government officials and business leaders.

Citing the state’s already strong economic and cultural ties to what is the world’s second most-populous country as a good reason to go there on a trade mission, Murphy said yesterday during an event hosted by the state’s Asian Indian Chamber of Commerce, “I want New Jersey to be a state where foreign-direct investment will once again flow in record numbers … One of the nations where we are increasingly focusing on is India.”

Joining the governor on the trade mission will be officials from the state Economic Development Authority and Choose New Jersey, a nonprofit organization that promotes the state as a prime location for business. Choose New Jersey will also be paying for the trip, Murphy’s office said yesterday.

Last year, Murphy, a first-term Democrat, went on a nine-day trade mission to Israel and Germany, which also was funded by Choose New Jersey. He used that trip to pitch New Jersey as a prime location for startups and other companies looking to establish roots in the United States.

Delhi and Mumbai on the itinerary

Murphy, a former U.S. ambassador to Germany, met with government leaders in both countries and also visited cultural sites during last year’s trade mission, which came amid a broader push to remake the state economy in ways that emphasize innovation and new technologies.

During the trip, which will run from September 13 to 22, Murphy is planning to make stops in the cities of Agra, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Gandhinagar, Hyderabad and Mumbai, his office said.

Yesterday Murphy called India a natural place for a trade mission given New Jersey’s $8 billion in economic ties to the country, making it one of the state’s largest foreign-direct investors. Roughly 50 percent of India’s foreign investment in the Northeast region is with New Jersey, he said. Murphy also said New Jersey has one of the nation’s largest Asian-Indian populations, topping 400,000, with many running small businesses that have contributed value to the broader state economy.

“Right here in New Jersey, more than anywhere else across the entirety of the United States, Indian culture and heritage is felt more and has a greater impact,” Murphy said.

The governor’s announcement thrilled members of the state’s Asian-Indian business community who attended yesterday’s event in South Plainfield.

“It is so remarkable that this administration has made an extra effort to embrace the value of Asian-Indian Americans for their contributions in New Jersey, as well as the businesses in India,” said Priti Pandya-Patel, the president of the Asian-Indian Chamber of Commerce.

“We would like to wish Gov. Phil Murphy and his team a safe and successful journey to India,” she said.

Among the officials who will be joining Murphy on the trade mission will be Joe Kelley, his deputy chief of staff for economic growth; Tim Sullivan, the chief executive officer of the EDA; and Wesley Matthews, the leader of the EDA’s Office of International Trade and Investment. Jose Lozano, the president of Choose New Jersey, will also be on the trade mission, Murphy said.

Strengthening ties

“New Jersey is a leader in the life sciences, medical technology, clean energy and manufacturing, and we are the best place for international companies to do business,” Lozano said in a statement. “We look forward to strengthening our close cultural and economic ties with our partners in India during this trip and attracting more businesses to invest in the Garden State.”

It’s unclear how much the trip will cost Choose New Jersey or the state’s taxpayers. Choose New Jersey officials could not be reached for comment yesterday to discuss details that were not disclosed during Murphy’s public event in South Plainfield. The governor’s office said costs related to Murphy’s state police security detail will be covered by taxpayers, but no estimates for those costs were made available yesterday.

Murphy is the latest in a long line of New Jersey chief executives to embark on international trade missions, as former Govs. Christie Whitman, Jim McGreevey, Jon Corzine and Chris Christie all took trips overseas during their respective tenures. In fact, Christie, a Republican, went on several trade missions during his two terms in office, including to Israel, Jordan, Mexico, Canada and London, England.

A former executive with the Goldman Sachs investment bank, Murphy said he’s been to India before, but those were business trips that occurred roughly two decades ago.

“I’m incredibly excited to make the trip,” Murphy said. “I am excited about the possibilities.”