Expanding its global footprint, Legal Era – Legal Media Group organized the 7th Edition Legal Era Conclave 2018, themed “East Meets West: Understand The Emerging Markets, Ground Realities, Opportunities & Path Ahead”, in the heart of New York City, USA. The Conclave, held at Hotel Marriott, New York (USA), and spread over two days, i.e., May 24 and 25, 2018, brought together eminent personalities from the Indian and US governments including several lawyers, professionals, and top business brass from both countries.
L-R : Aakriti Raizada, Sandeep Chakravorty, Diane Farrell, Puneet R. Kundal, Nishith M. Desai & Amy Hariani
The inaugural session of the Conclave saw the likes of Sandeep Chakravorty, Consul General of India, New York, USA; Diane Farrell, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia, U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration; Puneet R. Kundal, Minister (Commerce), Embassy of India, Washington, DC; Nishith M. Desai, Founder & Managing Partner, Nishith Desai Associates; and Amy Hariani, Vice President & Legal Policy Counsel, USIBC, US Chamber of Commerce, taking to the stage to elaborate on the central theme and objective of the Conclave. Extending a warm welcome to all attendees, Aakriti Raizada, Founder & CEO, Legal Era – Legal Media Group, India, declared the Conclave open, briefly touching on its main mission.
Sandeep Chakravorty, Consul General of India, New York, USA
Discussing the relevance of this cross-border Conclave, Aakriti noted that “The India-USA relationship has undergone a tectonic shift, both countries having deepened and diversified their engagement with each other.” She reiterated Legal Era’s pledge of driving dialogue between the two countries with the two-fold motive of increasing trade and economic growth as well as building a platform to bridge the gap between policymakers, lawyers, and business persons.
The Chief Guest of the conference, Sandeep Chakravorty, Consul General of India, New York, USA, briefed on certain aspects of the India-US relationship – the transactional and personal aspects which come up due to the ever-growing interaction between the two nations. Highlighting the growing Indian migration to the USA in the last few decades, Sandeep brought out the legal repercussions of this migration. He specifically referred to “personal law” confusion and the costs associated with litigation in the USA for foreigners as two very real challenges of this cross-border interaction.
Diane Farrell, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia, U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration
Puneet R. Kundal, Minister (Commerce), Embassy of India, Washington, DC
Furthering the India-US trade discourse was Guest of Honor, Diane Farrell, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia, U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration. She pointed out shared interests between the two countries and offered insights into the efforts taken by both countries towards further strengthening this relationship in the face of several challenges that could derail the process. Specifically mentioning a highlight of the India-US relationship – the National Security Strategy which contains the Indo-Pacific strategy – she recognized the successful work that was being done to strengthen this relationship from economic as well as security standpoints. She called attention to the fruitful nature of the India-US trade relationship citing recent investments, reduction in India’s deficit and sectoral trade in aviation, defence, healthcare, environmental technologies, energy, and the digital sector. In conclusion, Diane led the audience to look at the large picture – that the India-US relationship is something that will continue to grow and flourish and will receive commitment from both governments.
Delving into the economic aspects of the India-USA relationship, Puneet R. Kundal, Minister (Commerce), Embassy of India, Washington, DC, spoke about India being the largest recipient of foreign direct investment and her potential as an emerging market. He covered several cross-sector initiatives such as intellectual property (IP), where the Indian Government has launched ‘IP Nani’ to increase IP awareness; infrastructure projects like the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, modernization of ports, and improvement in trains (like speed); defence investment with increased equipment sourcing from the USA; and ever-increasing USA-India collaboration in energy, IT, medicine, and education. Puneet ended by saying that while trade relations are a tricky issue, they must be negotiated in the interest of a brighter future for both countries.
Nishith M. Desai, Founder & Managing Partner, Nishith Desai Associates
Amy Hariani, Vice President & Legal Policy Counsel, USIBC, US Chamber of Commerce
Nishith M. Desai, Founder & Managing Partner, Nishith Desai Associates, highlighted the ample opportunities existing between the US and India and the importance of ethical presence of Indian firms in the US. Starting off by reminding the audience that the USA is the largest investor in India, Nishith – himself having set up an office in the USA – urged the audience to acknowledge the benefits of having a presence in the USA, such as market intelligence, research data, and invaluable ‘insight’ as opposed to just ‘information’. Further, he cautioned against market espionage and encroaching on American law practices in order to develop long-lasting trust between the nations. Nishith ended his speech by introducing the audience to the term ‘cooptition’, i.e., cooperative competition, which, according to him, should be the aim of lawyers working together.
The closing remarks were given by Amy Hariani, Vice President & Legal Policy Counsel, USIBC, US Chamber of Commerce. Tying the various speeches together, Amy spoke of how issues on an individual level (like visas and permits) can have global repercussions (like cross-border investments). She recalled an incident of how her friends from India recently requested expedited visas to travel to Arkansas (the hub for Walmart), and a few days later, the Walmart-Flipkart deal was announced. Stories like these, she said, spoke volumes of what can be achieved with diplomatic cooperation and invested partners.
The two-day Conclave concluded successfully with the who’s who of the global legal fraternity in attendance.
Coming at a time when the world is more connected and complex than ever before, the Conclave helped eminent personalities from the Indian and US governments including lawyers, professionals, and top business leaders gain valuable insights into the opportunities and challenges, going forward.