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US trade team heads to India

With the India-US civil nuclear deal in place, Washington is sending its largest ever nuclear trade mission to India with an eye on a major share in its projected $150 billion nuclear business.

business Updated: Nov 25, 2008 14:36 IST
Arun Kumar

With the India-US civil nuclear deal in place, Washington is sending its largest ever nuclear trade mission to India with an eye on a major share in its projected $150 billion nuclear business.

Visiting India Dec 2-9, the team of commercial nuclear executives will be led by Jack Fuller, CEO of GE-Hitachi, a world-leading provider of advanced reactors, nuclear fuel and nuclear services.

It will also have senior executives from Westinghouse Electric Company, the other world leader in commercial reactors.

The mission blessed by the US Department of Commerce will have more than 50 senior executives representing more than 30 of the world's leading commercial nuclear companies under the banner of US-India Business Council (USIBC) and the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI).

The USIBC-NEI delegation will meet with senior Indian government officials, the leaders of India's top public-sector undertakings, and senior executive counterparts from Indian companies. Starting in New Delhi, the mission will travel to Hyderabad and then Mumbai.

"We applaud the visionary and courageous leadership of India's political leaders," said USIBC president Ron Somers. "That vision, supported by India's partners, put an end to India's nuclear isolation and made US-India commercial nuclear trade possible."

"We are coming to India to learn how US commercial nuclear suppliers can continue our partnership with India in the expansion of nuclear power," added USIBC director Ted Jones. "We want to partner with India both here and around the world."

USIBC has projected a $150 billion business for civilian nuclear technologies in India's growing nuclear power sector over the next 30 years because of the India-US civil nuclear deal.

Formed in 1975 under the aegis of the US Chamber of Commerce, USIBC is the premier business advocacy organisation representing 300 of the largest US companies investing in India, joined by global Indian companies, seeking deeper US-India commercial ties.

The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) is the policy organisation of the nuclear energy and technologies industry that seeks to ensure the formation of policies promoting the beneficial uses of nuclear energy and technologies in the US and around the world.

The USIBC-NEI mission will arrive in India less than two months after the historic opening of India to civilian nuclear trade with the US and the world with the Oct 9 signing of the bilateral implementing 123 Agreement by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

The US commercial nuclear industry leads the world in size, performance, innovation, and engineering worldwide, USIBC said. The US is the largest generator of electric power in the world - with 27 percent of the world's total installed capacity and nearly double the number of reactors as France.

The US also produces at roughly half to one third of the cost in other major countries, the business advocacy group claimed. In recent decades, US reactor companies and civil nuclear engineering companies have remained at the forefront of innovation and engineering worldwide.

The US industry, including many of the commercial nuclear suppliers on this Mission, provided massive political support for the US-India civilian nuclear initiative, USIBC said.

Through the USIBC-led Coalition for Partnership with India, the US industry joined with Indian Americans and policy experts to win final approval by the US Congress for ending India's nuclear isolation, it said.

First Published: Nov 25, 2008 12:00 IST