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SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2007
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Alabama targets India with trade missions

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Alabama has sent back-to-back trade missions to India, a sign that the state’s international development efforts are extending beyond the traditional focus of Europe, Japan and Korea.

The state Department of Agriculture and Industries had its first-ever agricultural trade group in India in late January and early February.

The state’s industrial recruitment agency, the Alabama Development Office, currently has its first group in India looking at industrial opportunities,

India, sometimes the target of bitter comments about American businesses outsourcing jobs, has a rapidly growing economy that is attracting interest from Alabama and other states.

“States all over the country and industries all over the world are looking at India,” said Brian Davis, director of the Alabama International Trade Center at The University of Alabama.

Population

For Alabama Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks, the numbers tell the story.

“India has a population of over 1 billion,” he said. “Of that one billion, 300 million are considered to be part of the consuming middle class of the country. That is more than the entire population of the United States.”

Traditionally, Alabama’s economic efforts have targeted other countries. For instance, Gov. Bob Riley has led industrial recruitment trips to Korea, China and Europe, including returning home Wednesday from Germany and Austria.

India emerged last year as a target for Alabama’s business recruitment efforts. India’s ambassador visited Alabama, the India-based technology company ITC Limited opened a subsidiary in Birmingham, and the Alabama India Business Partnership was formed to promote Alabama to India.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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