US programme to increase secure high-tech trade with India

US programme to increase secure high-tech trade with India


Washington: The US Commerce Department has announced a new programme to facilitate and increase high-technology trade with India while maintaining a secure American export control system.

Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez has established the Validated End-User (VEU) programme for India.

“The VEU programme will make transactions easier, faster and more reliable with customers that meet the security requirements of an interagency review process, and help US exporters remain competitive in one of the fastest-growing markets for American companies," The Department of Commerce said in a statement.

“As the world’s largest democracy and a strategic partner, India’s growth has created new opportunities for US businesses and workers. VEU will enable US companies to capitalise on those opportunities by eliminating individual license requirements on exports of US-controlled items to certain customers in India with a track record of responsible use of such items," it added.

“American exporters benefit from access to India’s market, and the Validated End-User builds upon the enormous progress made over the last six years in facilitating secure high-technology trade and investment while strengthening our cooperation on export controls," Gutierrez said.

The “common-sense approach" will make it easier for US companies to sell American products to pre-screened customers in India, while maintaining vigilance over US technologies, he added.

The VEU programme which was first announced by President George W Bush in March 2006 and previewed by Gutierrez at the US-India CEO Forum Last week, will increase US high-tech exports to India and further align the economic and commercial ties between the world’s oldest and largest democracies.

“US exports to India have increased by 66% since 2004. The VEU programme could facilitate millions of dollars in additional US high-tech exports to India in such sectors as electronics, avionics, aerospace, and life sciences," the Commerce Department said.

“As India has taken significant steps to strengthen its non-proliferation regime -- including the passage of the landmark Weapons of Mass Destruction Bill creating an export control system -- the US has updated its policies towards India to reflect this progress. The percentage of total US exports to India requiring a Commerce Department license has plummeted to less than one per cent from 24% in 1999," it is pointed out.

The VEU programme is a result of India’s progress in developing an effective export control system, and will ensure American companies are able to compete while giving companies in India enhanced access to US products, the Commerce Secretary said.

VEU for India was implemented through an update to the Export Administration Regulations in the Federal Register. India’s eligibility for this programme was facilitated through consultations with the Government of India at such fora as the US-India High Technology Cooperation Group.

While US controls on exports to India have been eased over the past several years through such bilateral cooperation, VEU goes further by enabling license-free exports to authorised companies in India with a record of responsibly using sensitive US technology, the Commerce Department said.