Aventura businesswoman heads new India-US chamber
By Samantha Joseph
A growing Indian population in Florida and frequent inquiries into trade opportunities has led to the creation of the India-US Chamber of Commerce to Greater Miami.
The nearest Indian chamber had been in Jacksonville and the closest consulate is in Houston, said Aventura businesswoman Madhu Mehta. She said that gave South Florida investors little choice but to look elsewhere to learn about opportunities in India.
Since its launch May 13, the chamber has gained 32 members, Ms. Mehta said. She said she expects membership to pass 100 by year's end. "We're making it known to people that we exist," she said.
The group is part of the Association of Bi-national Chambers of Commerce, an organization that for the past year has sought to create an Indian trade group in Florida. The association is an umbrella group for 45 Florida binational chambers whose members do business in foreign countries.
"There was a real need for an Indian chamber here," said association CEO Lita Haeger.
In the past year, she said, she has fielded at least 50 requests from Indian and US companies looking to do business in each other's countries.
"As there is no Indian consulate or trade office in Miami or the state of Florida, there were no representatives in commerce or business to take care of those requests," Ms. Haeger said. "There was a need for someone to incorporate an organization to do this."
According to the US Census, 70,740 Indians lived in Florida in 2000, more than double the 31,457 in 1990.
India imports crude oil and petroleum products, chemicals, machinery, fertilizers, iron, steel and jewelry from the US. The country's chief exports to the US include ready-made garments, cotton yarn and fabrics, handicrafts, cereals, marine products and transportation equipment.
Ms. Mehta, who heads German textile design company India Silk, does business on three continents. She said her experience with operating outlets in seven Indian cities, Germany and Aventura has given her a keen understanding of the opportunities between Florida and India.
The chamber's headquarters is at 3801 NE 207th St., Suite 1102, in Aventura.
Details: (305) 931-8257.