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India - U.S. Joint Statement on High Technology Commerce

New Delhi
December 1, 2005 

The fourth meeting of the U.S.- India High Technology Cooperation Group (HTCG) was held on November 30 - December 1, 2005 in New Delhi, India. India’s Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran and U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security David H. McCormick co-chaired the meetings. The government-to-government meetings on December 1 were preceded by a public-private forum on November 30, which provided an opportunity for U.S. and Indian companies to recommend measures for enhancing bilateral cooperation in nanotechnology, biotechnology, and defense trade. The Government session had apart from the plenary session, a session on strategic trade and break-out sessions on Information Technology, Bio-technology, Defence Technology, and Nanotechnology.

The HTCG was formed in 2002 to provide a standing framework for facilitating and promoting U.S.-India high-technology trade and building confidence for trade in sensitive items. The fourth meeting of the HTCG took place against the backdrop of landmark understandings reached as a result of discussions between President George Bush and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on July 18, 2005. Foreign Secretary Saran and Under Secretary McCormick noted the important follow up decisions taken since the visit and agreed on the importance of forging a global partnership between the two countries. It was also noted that the completion of the Next Steps in Strategic Partnership (NSSP) lays the foundation for future cooperation in the areas of civil space, civil nuclear power, and high technology trade. 

Foreign Secretary Saran welcomed Under Secretary McCormick as the new US Co-chair of the HTCG. Under Secretary McCormick stated that he was confident that the discussions provided an excellent foundation for moving the HTCG forward. During their discussions, Foreign Secretary Saran and Under Secretary McCormick agreed to take concrete steps to make the HTCG more “results-oriented,” expand the public private partnership by addressing their legitimate concerns, evolve strategies to ensure that licensing could become more efficient, transparent and predictable for India, and to focus on key trade sectors that are affected by tariff and non-tariff trade barriers. Building on the recommendations provided by Indian and U.S. industry the previous day, the two delegations agreed to a detailed action plan that will further promote high-tech cooperation. 

The HTCG also included a dialogue on strategic trade and export controls in which both delegations reviewed recent developments in their export control policies and procedures. The United States applauded India’s recent developments to strengthen its export control system and underlined the importance, on both sides, of continuing to implement steps that promote high technology cooperation. Both countries also underlined the need to concentrate on promotion and outreach activities and pledged to work together to organize events in both countries geared to these objectives. 

The Co-chairs noted the positive contribution of the HTCG process for high technology commerce, recognizing in particular: 

- Only 1% of US exports to India require a license and over 90% of licence applications were approved in FY 2005

- Processing time for dual use application has dropped by 25% to 34 days on average

- More than half the value of controlled dual use trade to India no longer requires a licence as a result of NSSP implementation, and trade in high technology items is expected to significantly expand in the coming years. 

- Increased private sector interaction with the two governments, including industry events under HTCG auspices and outreach activities targeting business communities in both US and India. This has helped in promoting bilateral high technology trade. 

- The contribution of the private sector Working Group on defence technology, which has helped in better understanding and in forging bilateral cooperation in this sphere. 

The two delegations agreed to hold another meeting in 2006 and stressed the need to implement the action items developed during the sector-specific breakout sessions as soon as possible. 

The U.S. Government delegation included representatives from the relevant departments and organizations, including the Departments of Commerce, State, Defense, and Health and Human Services, the National Science Foundation, and the National Aeronautics and Atmospherics Administration. The Indian delegation included representatives from the Ministries of External Affairs, Commerce, Defense, Information Technology and Science and Technology, the National Security Council Secretariat, Department of Atomic Energy, Department of Biotechnology and Department of Space.