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First ever mango festival in Washington
Suman Guha Mozumder in New York
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April 06, 2007 03:56 IST

The first-ever Indian mango-tasting festival will be held in Washington in June in the presence of the captains of Indian and American industries and top government officials thanks to the US India Business Council.

The slated festival is part of advocacy efforts by USIBC for American imports of mango from India. President George Bush during his visit to India in 2005 struck a deal with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to lift the long-standing ban on American import of mangos from India.

The Bush Administration, working through the Office of the US Trade Representative, the US Department of Commerce, and the US Department of Agriculture, is now actively clearing the way for Indian mango exports to the U.S. this harvest season.

USIBC's member-companies are spearheading the private sector lobbying effort to ensure these exports.

On Wednesday USIBC met with US Trade Representative, Ambassador Susan Schwab, to advocate for import of Indian Mangoes to the US this season.

"The possibility of mango export to the U.S. assumes commercial as well as symbolic significance, as access to the global marketplace will benefit Indian farmers and consumers, together with their American counterparts," USIBC President Ron Somers said.

The first-ever Indian mango-tasting festival this harvest season, Somers said, will be held June 27 during USIBC's 32nd anniversary 'Global India' summit in Washington.

Industry leaders participating in the event include Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani, Boeing Company's CEO Jim McNerney,  CII Mentor Tarun Das, Wockhardt CEO and FICCI President Hari Korakiawala, Warburg Pincus President Chip Kaye, AIG Vice Chairman Frank Wisner, Lockheed Martin's President, McKinsey's Rajat Gupta, Chevron's Mike Wirth, the Cohen Group's Chairman William S. Cohen, and BGR International's President, Robert Blackwill.

Luminaries from the US and Indian governments participating include US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, US Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, and India's Union Commerce Minister Kamal Nath.

Notably, West Bengal's Commerce Minister Nirupam Sen will lead a business delegation from Kolkata to attend the USIBC Global India Summit.

Sarod Maestro Amjad Ali Khan and his sons will grace the Washington audience by performing a sarod recital on June 26 at the Kennedy Center, highlighting the cultural ties that bind the world's two great democracies.

On the prospects for import of Indian Mangoes, Ron Somers said the USIBC will continue to advocate deeper trade between the two countries. 'We want to open new and exciting vistas for the people of both countries,' Somers said.

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