New High Tech Imports Program Between U.S. And India

'Trusted Customer' program eliminates export licenses.

U.S.-India trade, which has seen barriers fall dramatically in recent years, will get an additional boost once a program fostering high-tech exports goes into effect this year, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said Feb. 22. "In a few months, our 'Trusted Customer' program for high-tech exports to India should be up and running," Gutierrez told a gathering of Indian and U.S. business leaders in Washington.

"For some controlled dual-use high-tech products, no export licenses will be required. Customers who qualify for this program will have access to U.S. high-technology products in a faster, more efficient and more transparent manner," Gutierrez said.

"The new program," he added, "shows the deep level of trust and cooperation we have for each other. Trust is absolutely vital in business," said Gutierrez, who traveled to India just last week to meet with senior government officials and business leaders.

The secretary also stressed the importance of India's involvement to help advance the stalled Doha round of global trade talks. "Simply put: India's leadership is required to achieve an agreement," the commerce secretary said. The Doha Round of talks ground to a halt in July amid bitter differences, especially over the lack of concessions on agriculture products which held up negotiations on industrial goods and services.

The U.S. is India's largest trading partner, with a combined trade of $29 billion in 2005.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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