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India wants bar on firms lifted for high tech trade

business Updated: Mar 16, 2010 10:57 IST
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Noting that the implementation of the landmark India-US civil nuclear deal presented a "win-win situation", India has sought more trade in high technology items with the removal of Indian firms from the barred Entity list.

"Once the 123 Agreement is implemented, a structured bilateral interaction with the Industry on both sides could take forward the process," Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said Monday at the opening industry-to-industry session of the India-US High Technology Cooperation Group (HTCG).

Similarly, the India US Bilateral Investment Treaty, which is presently under discussion, as also India's defence procurement programme presented opportunities, she told the session whose discussions would inform the bilateral official dialogue of the group Tuesday.

Rao and Dennis F. Hightower, US Deputy Secretary of Commerce are co-chairing the seventh meeting of the HTCG, its first since President Barack Obama took office. The HTCG was conceived in November 2001 to facilitate high-technology commerce between the two countries.

The business-to-business session, convened by the US-India Business Council

(USIBC) in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), has been tasked to suggest ways to facilitate trade in defence/strategic trade, civil nuclear cooperation, biotechnology, nano-technology and civil aviation

Welcoming, the US announcement of its intention to overhaul the US Export Control policy, Rao said India has shared its views regarding US high technology restrictions applicable to India with the US Department of Commerce.

"We see this as yet another area where Indian and US interest converge and, as a reliable and strategic partner, we look forward to seeing enhancement of trade in such goods and technologies between our two countries and removal of remaining Indian organizations from the Entity List," she said.

"It is anomalous that a body like ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), which is developing several collaborations with (US space agency) NASA, should continue to be on this list," Rao pointed out.

Hoping that the business session's review would "reflect and reaffirm the strategic nature of our partnership," she said: "Ideally, the collaborations in this forum should spawn a multitude of India-US partners across the hemispheres."

Rao suggested partnerships in such areas as working jointly to address the impact of climate change or in tandem on technology collaborations and commercialisation of new technologies from the laboratory to the market.

Citing authoritative studies indicating that by 2020, India and US will probably be two of the three largest economies in the world, she said: "Our partnership will undoubtedly benefit both the Indian as well as the US industry through the many synergies that we will create."

"The total exports of Advanced Technology Products from the United States to India has increased from $1.3 billion in 2003 to over $4 billion in 2009, a somewhat impressive increase, particularly against the backdrop of the global economic slowdown," she noted.

As the US Government undertakes a thorough export control review to increase high technology exports, "I would say, there could be no better partner than India to galvanize hi-tech US exports," Rao said.