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'270,000 new jobs will be created': US industry
Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC
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November 17, 2006 08:36 IST

Ron Somers, president of the US-India Business Council, said the passage of S. 3709, the United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act, was a huge gain for both sides.

"In every regard, this bill presents a win -- a win for the US-India commercial and strategic partnerships, the environment, safety, and nuclear non-proliferation," said Somers, who has been fronting US industry's frenetic lobbying efforts to push the bill through Congress.

"It lays the foundation for major trade and investment opportunities in India for US companies," said Somers. "As many as 27,000 high quality jobs each year, for the next ten years, will be created in the US nuclear industry alone as a result of this agreement.

"Sharing civilian nuclear technology will provide India's fast-growing economy with an environmentally sound energy resource to continue lifting millions of Indians out of poverty.

"Moreover, the safety of India's nuclear facilities will be enhanced as this agreement enables the sharing of technology as well as international best practices."

Somers called on the House and Senate leadership to quickly resolve differences in their respective bills in conference, "without allowing any poison pill provisions that would derail this extraordinarily important initiative."

The USIBC, which comprises the top 220 US companies doing business with and in India, in a separate statement said "As a result of today's vote, the objectives of attaining international energy security, nuclear safety, and a cleaner global environment have today made a Himalayan leap forward."

Somers, in that statement, pointed out that "India's nuclear energy market - estimated to require $100 billion in foreign direct investment - will open for US companies, which till now has been a closed sector, creating a potential 270,000 American jobs in high technology engineering and manufacturing over the next decade.

"Boosting India's civilian nuclear energy capacity reduces India's reliance on hydrocarbons - oil & gas - providing India with an indigenous resource to lift millions out of poverty and to fuel its fast-growing economy.  The Senate vote secures a victory for environmental security by slashing greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired electric plants that would otherwise dominate the India's energy policy."

On behalf of the USIBC, Somers described the Senate vote as "the linchpin that will shape the economic destiny of these two great democracies for the 21st century."

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