international law quarterly
fall 2018 • volume XXXIV, no. 2
The Good, the Bad, and India The New Frontier for U.S. Lawyers By Susanne Leone, Miami Introducing India
n my experience, not much is known about India in South Florida. India is about a 20-hour flight from Miami. Its culture, so different from our own, was built on strong family values, religious beliefs, and tradition. But what do we actually know here in South Florida about India? When we think of India, do we think of Bollywood, Indian food, the Taj Mahal, and slums? Maybe.
India is ready for industrialization, and it is ambitious in its desire to grow. India’s young population, its low dependency on welfare, and its work force will boost India’s future economy over the next two decades. We can elaborate on statistics and demographic data about India, but what does that mean for us lawyers here in the United States, and especially in South Florida? How can we benefit from India’s growth? To understand the potential of the Indian market, we first need insight into India’s current developments and challenges. This article reveals some key points I discovered during several visits to India, working with Indian lawyers and clients, and being part of the Indian community.
India’s new business-friendly environment
The vast majority may not realize India’s potential and the opportunities that are waiting for us to engage in one of the world’s fastest-growing emerging markets. India is the biggest country in South Asia and the fastestgrowing large economy in the world. As of 18 August 2018, India’s population is 1,355,915,092.1 This is equivalent to 17.74% of the world’s population and ranks India second after China.2 The median age is 27 years3 compared 37.9 years in the United States4 and 37 years in China.5 India’s GDP in 2017 was US$2.61 trillion.6 India’s major industries include steel, transportation equipment, machinery, textiles, information technology, chemicals, food processing, petroleum, telecommunication, cement, mining, and pharmaceuticals.7
In anticipation of a growth in business, many companies invest in India. More than 100 Fortune 500 companies have their presence in India.8 The amendment to the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy of 2017 issued on 23 January 2018 included changes that relaxed FDI regulations of various sectors, including the air transport, construction development, and single brand retail trading (SBRT) sectors.9 Following the trend of major U.S. companies moving to India under the country’s new, attractive FDI policy, Walmart paid US$16 billion this year to buy the e-commerce company Flipkart with the goal of competing with Amazon in India. Previously, Walmart was held back by local regulations in India. According to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, “India is one of the most attractive retail markets in the world, given its size and growth rate, and our investment is an opportunity to partner with the company that is leading the transformation of e-commerce in the market.”10 India also got Apple CEO Tim Cook’s attention. India is the third largest smartphone market in the world, one in which Apple aims to increase its market share,
Fall 2018, volume XXXIV, no.2