Kingston speaks to Indian crowd about trade, military


Jack Kingston

DULUTH — U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston believes there is plenty of room to grow for trade and commerce between the United States and India.

Kingston, who in May announced he would join the 2014 race to replace U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, spoke to a crowd at the 17th annual Festival of India on Saturday at the Gwinnett Center. As a dignitary at the event, Kingston was honored with several traditional Indian customs and given a bouquet of roses.

Kingston said he traveled to India in February, and given the country’s 1.2 billion population and common interests with the U.S., added that trade is bound to grow. As a member of the foreign operations and defense committees, Kingston said he’s become familiar with the opportunities.

“I know from my vantage point what a great opportunity there is for trade, commerce and interaction with medicine between India and the United States of America,” Kingston said.

Kingston said India imports a lot of almonds from California, but not many onions or nuts from Georgia.

As a military ally, Kingston said the U.S. and India do major training exercises, explosion ordinances and salvage work together. India would also like to upgrade its military arensal because its weapon systems date to the Soviet era.

Kingston also boasted that 50 percent of the hotels and motels in the U.S. are Indian-owned, which he called a success story for both countries.

“Our children will all be interwoven in commerce, culture and social interaction,” Kingston said. “I think the future looks bright.”

Closer to home, Kingston is in campaign mode as the Gwinnett Center event was one of several stops on his schedule on Saturday.

“There are lots of hands to shake, and lots of towns to visit, but I’m been very encouraged and really enjoying it,” he said.

Late last week, Kingston and 79 House Republicans urged House leaders to defund the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. On Saturday, Kingston cited the United Parcel Service’s recent announcement that 15,000 employee spouses wouldn’t be covered in part because of the new health law.

“People are very concerned with Obamacare because it has not decreased the cost of medicine, and it has not increased the accessibility,” Kingston said. “There’s a lot of concern about it. The closer we get, the more unpopular it will become.”