US hopes CSC will give American firms level playing field

October 28th, 2010 - 10:19 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, Oct 28 (IANS) The United States has welcomed the signing by India of an international treaty governing global civil nuclear liability to address a key irritant in the way of implementing the landmark India-US civil nuclear deal.

“This is a very big deal,” Geoffrey Pyatt, State Department Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South Asia said Wednesday briefing the Indian media ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit to India next month.

But “This is not the end,” he said noting that ratification of the Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC) signed by India in Vienna was the next step, a separate process that India will now undertake in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

India’s tough nuclear liability law passed earlier this year holding operators and suppliers liable for 80 years had caused concern among American companies and even India’s sole operator, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India.

The signing of the CSC was a also “very significant step” towards the “ultimate objective” of bringing India into the mainstream of civil nuclear commerce, Pyatt said

Asked if the signing of CSC had allayed US concerns, he said based on the ongoing conversations between India and IAEA and India and the supplier companies he was very optimistic that concerns raised by some practical implications posed by the Indian law would be addressed in a practical way.

“The important principle for us has been that there needs to be a level playing field for American companies to participate in India’s civil nuclear market place,” he said.

Earlier, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns told a White House briefing: “It is a very positive step to assure that international standards apply, and US companies will have a level playing field to compete.”

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