US business group urges lawmakers to approve nuke deal

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Washington, Sep 23 (UNI) The US Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses of every size, sector and region, strongly supported the Indo-US nuclear agreement and urged the Congress to approve it before the close of its current session.

'' French and Russian firms are already working in India, yet the US firms cannot engage until the Congressional approval of the 123 Agreement,'' the Chamber said in a statement.

'' The US-India civil nuclear initiative will bring India into the international nuclear non-proliferation mainstream and enhance the safety of India's civil programme,'' the statement said.

It added that the initiative will also help to revitalise the US nuclear industry and create thousands of high-tech jobs.

The Congress affirmed India's worthiness as a partner in civil nuclear trade in December 2006 when it passed the 'Henry J Hyde United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act' by overwhelming bipartisan margins. Since then, sensitive issues relating to non-proliferation have been carefully considered and unanimously resolved by the IAEA and the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group.

The statement recalled that India's civil nuclear program commenced when its first reactor, made by General Electric, began producing nuclear power in 1961.

'' India's 34-year-long nuclear isolation has now become history and the opportunity for US companies today is tremendous, with an expected 30,000 to 60,000 MW of new nuclear energy generating capacity by 2030 and new investment of 150 billion US dollars,'' it said.

The Statement further added that if US companies are allowed to compete, a modest share of that business could support 250,000 high-tech American jobs. Moreover, the nuclear business would be a fraction of the broader commercial gain across all sectors after this foundation, established of mutual trust and respect, is laid.


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