Leading US Business groups cheer Indo-US nuclear accord

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Washington, Oct 2 (UNI) Leading American business groups hailed the Congressional approval of the US-India nuclear agreement, highlighting the ''tremendous opportunity'' for US companies, with an expected 30,000 to 60,000 MWe of new nuclear generating capacity by 2030, representing a potential 150 billion dollars of new investment.

''If US companies are allowed to compete, a modest share of that business could support 2,50,000 high-tech American jobs,'' the US Chamber of Commerce said.

''Moreover, the nuclear business would be a fraction of the broader commercial gain across all sectors after this foundation of mutual trust and respect is established,'' it added.

US Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses of every size, sector, and region recalled that India's civil nuclear program commenced operation when its first reactor, made by General Electric, began producing nuclear power in 1961.

Earlier, in a letter, the Chamber urged lawmakers to support the measure without amendment. ''French and Russian firms are already working in India, yet US firms cannot engage until Congressional approval of the 123 Agreement,'' it said.

The US-India Business Council (USIBC), in a separate statement, also talked of the accord, ''opening a wide vista of opportunity for US-India collaboration in commerce, civil nuclear research, technology transfer and nuclear fuel supply -- essential inputs to power India's dynamic, fast-growing economy.'' ''It sets the parameters for US industry participation in India's civil nuclear build-out, but on a symbolic level represents a historic breakthrough, shoring up a durable foundation upon which US-India relations will flourish and America's partnership will deepen with the world's largest free-market democracy,'' it said.

USIBC President Ron Somers said the Washington-based industry association, comprised of 300 of America's top companies, was committed to a long-term partnership with India.

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