Amazon launches B2B global selling for Indian exporters

Apr 3, 2018 0

New Delhi– Global e-commerce giant Amazon on Tuesday said it has launched B2B (business-to-business) selling for Indian exporters under its “Global Selling programme” to reach business customers across its international marketplaces.

“Amazon Business today announced the expansion of its Global Selling programme by launching B2B selling for Indian exporters,” the company said in a statement.

“Through this launch, B2B sellers, manufacturers and exporters will be able to reach thousands of business customers across Amazon’s international marketplaces,” it said.

The company said the programme — which started as a pilot late last year — has received a positive response with over 2,000 exporters registered for B2B global selling at present.

The company’s B2B Global Selling program is present in the US, Britain, Germany, France, Japan and India.

According to the e-commerce giant, once the sellers register for the individual marketplaces, they will then be able to export to these Amazon global marketplaces.

“Ranging from sole proprietors to the largest of Fortune 500 enterprises, Indian exporters registered with Amazon Business Global Selling program are able to directly reach out to Amazon’s global business customer base and thus get an opportunity to venture into newer market segments,” it said.

The company said the program enables features such as business-only pricing and back-end integration that helps exporters manage competitive pricing internationally and assists in managing and fulfilling bulk orders from business customers.

“Amazon Business’s Global Selling program will get the sellers in front of decisions makers of Fortune 500 companies as well as medium and small corporations across the world,” said Peeyush Nahar, Vice President B2B Marketplace Business, Amazon.

“To support tapping this excellent market of business customers for Indian goods globally, the program offers benefits to the Indian sellers such as discounted referral fees for bulk orders, business price and quantity discounts targeted for business customers, single selling account etc,” he added. (IANS)

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First LNG shipment from US reaches Maharashtra

Mar 30, 2018 0

Ratnagiri (Maharashtra)– The first shipment of US liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Cheniere Energy Inc., Louisiana reached GAIL (India) Ltd’s Dabhol Terminal here on Maharashtra’s Konkan coast on Friday, an official said.

The shipment is part of the two 20-year LNG supply agreements worth around $32 billion for US LNG Exports, signed by GAIL with the Dominion Energy Cove Point project in Maryland and the Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Sabine Pass Project in Louisiana.

The first of the shipments under the agreement was received from Cheniere Energy Inc., at Dabhol, in the presence of US Minister Counsellor for Commercial Affairs Patrick Santillo, US Consul-General to Kolkata Craig Hall and Union Minister for Petroleum Dharmendra Pradhan.

“The US continues to partner with India across the broad range of energy collaboration, whether through traditional energy sources like oil – the first crude oil shipment from US to India arrived in October 2017 in Odisha – or LNG or others like coal and renewables,” said Santillo on the occasion.

He said US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster has remarked that the US is uniquely positioned to offer India a comprehensive energy partnership and energy exports are emerging as a promising means of addressing the bilateral trade deficit while simultaneously promoting India’s energy security.

Friday’s LNG shipment is expected to set the stage for the upcoming visit by US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry for the upcoming US-India Strategic Partnership meeting scheduled next month (April), said Santillo.

Under the leadership of President Donald Trump, the US administration continues to work to promote free, fair and reciprocal trade with all its trading partners including India, he said.

The bilateral trade between the US and India shot up by $11 billion in 2017 to touch $125.6 billion now, Santillo added. (IANS)

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JSW Steel to buy US’s Acero Junction Holdings for $81 mn

Mar 29, 2018 0

New Delhi– Indian steel major JSW Steel on Thursday said it has entered into an agreement to acquire US-based Acero Junction Holdings for $80.85 million.

“JSW Steel has entered into a stock purchase agreement dated March 28, 2018 with JSM International, Acero Junction Holdings Inc and Acero Junction Inc for the acquisition of 100 per cent shares of Acero Junction Holdings Inc, a Delaware Corporation, for a cash considertion of upto $80.85 million,” the company said in a BSE filing.

“The acquisition of Acero provides a unique opportunity for the company to establish its presence in Ohio, US and gain deeper access to the Northern American market,” it said.

Earlier on March 26, the steel major’s US arm signed an agreement with the Texas Governor’s office to invest upto $500 million in phases to develop its steel manufacturing infrastructure in Baytown, Texas. (IANS)

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US suspends premium processing of H-1B visa petitions

Mar 21, 2018 0

Washington– The US on Wednesday announced the suspension of premium processing of all H-1B visa petitions for fiscal year 2019.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said the temporary suspension would help reduce the “overall H-1B visa processing time”. The H-1B petition filing is for the fiscal year 2019 beginning October 1, 2018.

“We will notify the public before resuming premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions or making any other premium processing updates,” the federal agency said.

It also announced petitions for H1-B visas will be accepted from April 2.

The H-1B programme offers temporary US visas that allow companies to hire highly skilled foreign professionals working in areas with shortages of qualified American workers.

Indians get most H1-B visas although there are no national quotas for the facility nor is it specifically designed for Indians.

The suspension of premium processing of all H-1B petitions, subject to the annual cap, is expected to last until September 10, 2018.

The USCIS said that during this time “we will continue to accept premium processing requests for H-1B petitions that are not subject to the fiscal 2019 cap.

“While premium processing is suspended, a petitioner may submit a request to expedite an FY 2019 cap-subject H-1B petition if it meets the Expedite Criteria.

The USCIS said it was currently unable to process due to the high volume of incoming petitions and the significant surge in premium processing requests over the past few years. (IANS)


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India to take up trade protectionism measures with US: Prabhu

Mar 20, 2018 0

New Delhi– India on Tuesday said it will bilaterally take-up the issue of recent trade protectionism measures imposed by the US.

Addressing a press conference after the Informal WTO Ministerial Meeting here, Minister of Commerce and Industry, and Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu said: “Every country will have a different response to it. We are obviously not the largest exporter of steel or aluminium to the US….”

“We will take it up with the US, with whom we have a huge trade surplus and we have a very good political relationship. We will take up this with them bilaterally.”

Suresh Prabhu

The assertion by the minister assumes significance as recently the US slapped import tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium, unfolding the prospect of an all-out global trade war.

According to WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo, the recent trade protectionist measures by the US have major potential for escalation.

“I have said very publicly, that I am very concerned and I think the institution itself could say the same, because these measures, for whatever reason, have a very major potential for escalation because of the possibility of responses from other partners with trade restrictive measures as well and that, I think, is something we should avoid,” Azevedo said.

“That’s what I heard today, many many countries saying we have a concern with this. We have to proceed very carefully and try to work within the framework of WTO… because I think that’s the only way we can avoid a very disruptive and unpredictable scenario in global trade.”

Further, Minister Prabhu said that “food security” issue was also discussed at the meeting during which “talks were held in a free and frank” manner.

The minister had earlier said that India is a strong supporter and believer in the WTO framework and is strongly committed to see the organisation being strengthened.

New Delhi hosted the largest Informal WTO Ministerial Meeting which began on Tuesday. The meeting was attended by delegates from 52 countries, including WTO Director General Azevedo, who participated in the discussions.

This is the second WTO mini-ministerial meeting being hosted by India, after the first in 2009 and it took place after the collapse of the WTO Buenos Aires ministerial talks in December last year.

The talks at the 11th ministerial conference at Buenos Aires broke down as the US reneged on its commitment, along with other countries, to find a permanent solution to the issue of public food stockholding by members of the multilateral trade body.

The US representative to the WTO talks declared in a small group meeting that a permanent solution to the food stockholding issue was not acceptable to America.

Under the WTO norms, a member-country’s food subsidy bill should not breach the limit of 10 per cent of the value of production based on the reference price of 1986-88.

India has been seeking amendments to this formula, fearing that full implementation of its food security programme may result in breaching of the WTO subsidy limit.

At the Buenos Aires ministerial, India continued to press for the reduction of farm subsidies by developed countries and resisted inclusion of new issues on the negotiating table like e-commerce and investment facilitation into the ongoing Doha Round of talks that have a developmental agenda, if in case these dilute the commitment to complete the existing agenda. (IANS)

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Infosys to open another tech hub in US, hire 1,000 people

Mar 15, 2018 0

Bengaluru– Global software major Infosys on Thursday said it will soon open a technology and innovation hub in the US state of Connecticut and hire about 1,000 American workers by 2022.

“We will open our next technology and innovation hub at Harford in Connecticut and hire 1,000 American workers in the state by 2022,” said the IT major in a statement here.

The Connecticut hub will focus on insurance, healthcare and manufacturing to bring the company to the eastern state’s clients and serve as the global hub for its InsurTech and HeathTech efforts.

“Investment in Connecticut is a part of our commitment to accelerate innovation for American enterprise by amplifying local talent and shrink the IT skills gap in the marketplace,” asserted the statement.

The announcement of the company’s fourth hub in North America comes 10 days after its first hub was inaugurated on March 6 at Indianapolis in Indiana state where it hired 2,500 American workers over the past year.

The hiring is part of the company’s May 2, 2017 decision to recruit 10,000 Americans by setting up four such hubs across the US and focus on new technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, user experience, emerging digital technologies, cloud and big data.

The company earlier announced opening its second such hub at Raleigh in North Carolina in July 2017 and the third at Providence in Rhode Island in August 2017, where it plans to hire about 2,000 techies each by 2021-22.

The Indianapolis hub will train, upskill and reskill engineers in the technologies required for businesses to accelerate their digital transformations.

The hiring of Americans is seen as a fallout of US President Donald Trump’s executive order on H1-B visas in April 2017, as clients in North America contribute about 60 per cent of the $10.3-billion company’s software export revenue annually.

“Connecticut’s assets and talent pipeline attract high calibre firms to the state, and I look forward to the value Infosys bring to our business community,” said Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy on the occasion.

Though the city-based firm has not disclosed the investment made in the four tech hubs, its President Ravi Kumar said the investment at Hartford would strengthen its ability to serve clients’ needs in the New England region and expand the local workforce to help its clients compete.

“Hartford’s position as the world’s insurance capital, paired with Connecticut’s academic institutions will place us in proximity to clients and accelerate the recruitment of local talent,” asserted Kumar in the statement.

The Connecticut hub will also include insurance and healthcare labs that focus on smart underwriting, claims fraud, IoT and cloud and will employ data security and data-sharing features to help the company’s clients comply with privacy laws while promoting innovation.

“We will leverage the hub to train its employees and develop techniques with agile, development operations, cloud and information security projects,” added the statement. (IANS)

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Wipro sells data services business to US firm

Mar 14, 2018 0

Bengaluru– Global software major Wipro on Wednesday announced selling its hosted data centre services business to US-based hybrid IT services provider Ensono for $405 million (Rs 2,633 crore).

“The deal will result in Ensono acquiring our eight data centres along with their 900 employees to expand its footprint and global service capabilities,” said the city-based IT major in a statement here.

The two entities also signed an agreement to jointly address the hybrid IT needs of Wipro’s enterprise customers worldwide.

“As part of the deal, we will invest $55 million (Rs 358 crore) in Ensono’s combined entity,” said Wipro.

The acquisition is expected to close in the quarter ending June 2018.

Wipro, which has been providing IT management solutions for enterprises since 1993, operates data centres globally, with expertise across multiple computing environments and platforms, including mainframes, iSeries, Unix, Windows and Linux servers.

The data centre services was one of the three businesses that became a part of Wipro when it acquired Infocrossing Inc for $600 million in 2007.

The other two Infocrossing businesses — medicare and medicaid services in the health insurance space and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) implementation services were integrated with the company’s other businesses and are not part of this divestment.

“As we focus on newer digital areas of spend, our investment and partnership with Ensono will enable us to remain committed to meeting the hosted data centre services needs of our customers,” said Wipro Vice-President for global infrastructure services Kiran Desai.

The Chicago-headquartered Ensono provides hybrid IT services, from cloud to mainframe, that enable clients to digitally transform their business.

The acquisition of Wipro’s date services will double Ensono’s size, diversify its client portfolio and increase its annual revenue to $550 million.

“The acquisition and partnership with Wipro increases our ability to scale and service our clients and expand our data centre operations in Germany, Britain and the US, besides establishing an operational presence in India,” said Ensono CEO Jeff Von Deylen in the statement.

Ensono is a portfolio firm of Charlesbank Capital Partners and M/C Partners. (IANS)

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Part of Nirav’s money trail leading to Delaware in US, says ED source

Feb 27, 2018 0

By Anand Singh

New Delhi– The Enforcement Directorate (ED), looking at the money trail related to jeweller-designer Nirav Modi, have found it leading to the Delaware state in the United States.

“The agency is probing details of the operations of Nirav Modi’s firms in Delaware,” an ED source told IANS, adding that all his bank transactions were under the scanner.

Delaware in the US is a tax-free state, attracting a large number of companies from across the coutnry to register there. The ED source said investigators were trying to find out if Nirav Modi had diverted any of the loans raised from Indian banks to the US which had been indicated in the documents they were studying.

They are also looking at whether some shell companies were set up in the US. According to the agency, Delaware hosts about 50 per cent of the US’ quoted firms with a tally of 6.5 lakh companies, overall.

Earlier in the day, Firestar Diamond Inc, the US company of Indian billionaire diamond trader Nirav Modi filed for bankruptcy in a New York court, under Chapter 11.

According to a court filing in Southern District of New York on Monday, the firm listed its liabilities in the range of $50 million and $100 million. A Chapter 11 filing under the Bankruptcy Code usually allows a company to reorganise its business.

Modi — who along with uncle Mehul Choksi of Gitanjali Group is the main accused in the Punjab National Bank fraud — has been shown as an inventor in details filed against his company registered at 5th Avenue in New York. Mihir Bhansali has been shown as the company Chief Executive Officer and Ajay Gandhi the Chief Financial Officer.

On Monday, a Mumbai special court permitted the ED to issue Letters Rogatory to six countries for identifying and taking steps to seize Nirav Modi’s properties in the PNB fraud case.

The ED source official said it is looking for shell companies of Nirav Modi and Choksi in foreign countries, “especially in tax havens”.

The agency officials had earlier said over 120 shell companies of both of them in India were under probe.

The ED action comes in the wake of its ongoing fraud probe — along with the Central Bureau of Investigation — against the two and many others, including directors of their companies and bank officials.

Modi has been accused, along with his Choksi, of defrauding the Punjab National Bank of Rs 12,600 crore, with Rs 1,300 being added to the fraud kitty on Monday night.

Earlier, the amount stated to have been defrauded by Modi and Choksi companies was Rs 11,300 crore.

The CBI had filed the first FIR in the scam on February 14 against Nirav Modi, his wife Ami, brother Nishal, uncle Choksi and his firms Diamond R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamond.

Nirav Modi, his family and Choksi left the country in early January. The FIR mentions fraud of around Rs 6,400 crore.

The CBI filed the second FIR on February 15 for Rs 4,886.72 crore fraud against the Gitanjali group headed by Choksi.

The agency source said the CBI had written to the Chief Vigilance Officers of five banks to share details of money credited to Nostro accounts of PNB on receiving Letters of Undertaking and Foreign Letters of Credit, which were then withdrawn by Nirav and Choksi’s group as buyer’s credit.

Till date 12 persons have been arrested in the case. The ED has attached properties valued by them at Rs 6,000 crore. (IANS)

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TCS ranked among top three employers in US

Feb 12, 2018 0

Mumbai– Global software major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) on Monday said it has been ranked among the top three employers in the US by the Netherlands-based Top Employers Institute.

“The Institute has also recognised TCS as one of the world’s best places to work for the fourth consecutive year,” said the city-based tech firm in a statement here.

The Amsterdam-headquartered independent organisation certifies employers the world over for excellence in creating a total work environment for their employees.

The criteria in assessing TCS employee offerings included talent strategy, workforce planning, on-boarding, learning and development, performance management, leadership development, career and succession management, compensation and benefits and company culture.

“As employees are our strong asset, we are committed to enabling their growth and development through programmes to build digital skills, enable career advancement and retain the best talent,” said TCS President, North America and Europe, Surya Kant in the statement.

TCS has also been among the top two recruiters of the US and Canadian IT services talent over the past five years.

“Optimal employee conditions ensure that people can develop personally and professionally on their own. Our research concluded thata-TCS provides an outstanding employment environment and offers creative initiatives, from secondary benefits and working conditions, to performance-management programmes,” said the Institute Global Business Director Dennis Utter.

As a flagship company of India’s Tata group, the $17.6 billion TCS has 390,000 techies across 36 countries worldwide. (IANS)

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Ratan Tata invests in medtech startup Axio

Jan 26, 2018 0

New Delhi– Axio Biosolutions has raised $7.4 million in a Series B funding round led by Ratan Tata’s RNT Capital along with existing investors Accel Partners and IDG Ventures India, a company statement said here on Friday.

The company plans to use the funds for expansion to new markets, while continuing to work on high-impact medical products.

Masterkey Holdings was the advisor for the transaction.

Axio had earlier launched an emergency haemostat for trauma care.

Headquartered in Boston, Axio Biosolutions has its corporate office in Bengaluru and GMP certified manufacturing facility in Gujarat. (IANS)

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