Eyeing India’s $150 bn nuclear pie, US sending trade team in December

October 16th, 2008 - 9:51 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Oct 16 (IANS) The United States has reassured India of reliable fuel supply for its civilian reactors while announcing a nuclear trade mission to India in December that seeks a share in the projected $150 billion business.Announcing the nuclear trade mission led by the US-India Business Council (USIBC) here Wednesday, US Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez noted that the trade association has projected a $150 billion business over the next 30 years because of the India-US civil nuclear deal.

“As President (George) Bush said, India will have a reliable fuel supply for its civilian reactors, which will help meet energy demands and reduce dependence on fossil fuels,” he said at a day-long “Green India” Summit jointly organised by USIBC and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

“The US will gain access to a growing market for civilian nuclear technologies,” Gutierrez said thanking USIBC for its strong support for “the landmark US-India nuclear cooperation bill, which promises benefits for both nations.”

“US companies are eager to contribute to India’s developing nuclear power sector. However, private sector firms, both US and Indian, require nuclear liability protection in order to do business,” he said asking India to “draft and ratify a domestic law consistent with the Convention of Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage.”

Noting that US-India bilateral trade in 2007 was nearly 42 billion dollars, up 55 percent from 2005, Gutierrez said “sales of nuclear, and other clean energy technologies such as wind energy, biomass, and hydropower, present opportunities to do more business together.”

India has the potential to be one of the world’s largest clean energy markets, he said, noting it’s twelfth in GDP with a population of more than one billion people and projected to overtake China and have the world’s largest population over the next 20 years.

Noting that clean energy technologies have moved to the forefront of India’s energy infrastructure and investment opportunities, Gutierrez said: “US companies produce world-class clean energy technologies. And the US is committed to being India’s partner in providing clean, sustainable energy.”

With a dramatic growth in population and economic activity, India is also increasing demands on water resources by 10-12 percent annually, he said and thr US water/wastewater management industry is well positioned to provide strategies and technologies to address these issues.

“We encourage the Government of India to continue working cooperatively to target environmental goods for trade liberalisation,” Gutierrez said noting the US is also working together with India through the Asia-Pacific Partnership (APP) on Clean Development and Climate.

“More than ever, trade is critical. In fact, trade continues to be the bright spot of the US economy. Last year, US exports totalled a record $1.6 trillion. As of August, US exports have increased by 18 percent year-to-date, over 2007,” he said.

“These are challenging economic times. And like other countries throughout the world, India and the next US Administration will have to set policy for the future,” Gutierrez said adding, “I don’t believe that retreating into economic isolationism is the solution.”

“As President Bush said, the US and India are natural partners as we head into the 21st century,” he said. This “Green India” Summit is another opportunity to explore and develop ways to grow our economies while contributing to cleaner, safer, healthier environments.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also hailed the role of the USIBC in furthering the relationship between the two countries, especially for its “unflinching support” to the nuclear deal with India.

“The Council has done a tremendous job in furthering the US-India relationship especially in its unflinching support for the Civilian Nuclear Cooperation Initiative,” Rice said in a letter to USIBC President Ron Somers.

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