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Obama seeks export ties with India

The goal of the initiative is to double the US exports in five years and to support several million jobs

Representatives of 15 companies visited the financial capital of the nation to network with leading entrepreneurs and business leaders as part of US's national initiative for export ties.

Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale, assistant secretary of manufacturing and services of the US Department of Commerce, led the mission to India that will also explore the market in Hyderabad and New Delhi. "This is the first franchising trade mission organised by the US Department of Commerce to visit India. We are here as part of President (Barack) Obama's national export initiative," Lamb-Hale said.

"The goal of the initiative is to double the US exports in five years and to support several million jobs," she added.

The participating companies include Applebee's, BannaStrow's Crepes and Coffee, CKE Restaurants- Carl's Jr., Denny's, Focus Brands, Schlotzsky's Deli, Moe's Southwest Grill, Carvel Ice Cream, Johnny Rockets, Molly Maid and Wonderworks Amusement Parks.

Currently, the franchise market in India is estimated at $3.3 billion and growing at about 30 percent. Over 700 franchise systems are already operating in the country, and approximately 10 percent of these systems are run by international companies.

Planning to have the first of its family dining restaurants in mid 2012, William Edwards, CEO of EGS, the company that runs Denny's Restaurants, said the firm has already eliminated beef and pork from its menu for the Indian market.

"We have now been able to completely eliminate beef and pork from the Denny's menu to replace it with more vegetarian and vegan dishes," Edwards said.

The company is also planning to come up with a professional, branded and trusted maid service franchise in India by 2012 along with Rita's Italian Ice.

Another company looking to setting shop in India is Applebee's, one of the largest casual dining chains based in the US.

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