Good morning. My name is Ken Juster, and I am Under Secretary for Industry and Security in the U.S. Department of Commerce. I welcome you here for what is, quite frankly, an historic occasion – the first activity convened under the U.S.-India High Technology Cooperation Group.
Let me welcome, in particular, Indian Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal, Ambassador Lalit Mansingh, and the delegation of more than 40 distinguished representatives of the public and private sectors who have joined us from India. The U.S. Government greatly appreciates your attendance here today, and we look forward to very productive interactions with you today and tomorrow.
I would also like to welcome the many representatives of U.S. industry who
have joined us here today. As of yesterday evening, there were over 100 members
of private industry scheduled to join us, representing companies ranging from
established Fortune 50 multinationals to start-ups, many different technology
sectors, and more than a dozen U.S. states. Your presence here is a testament
to the strength of the U.S.-Indian commercial relationship and to the high
aspirations that all of us in this room have to see that relationship strengthen
I would like to briefly describe the High Technology Cooperation Group – what it’s goals are – and what my goals are for today’s Forum. As many of you may know, when President Bush and Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee met in November 2001, they committed to transforming the relationship between our two countries – two of the world’s great democracies – including in the area of high technology commerce. Let me say at the outset that I think that this transformation has already occurred, as both governments are now involved in a multi-faceted and broad-guaged relationship, of which high-technology is but one aspect.
With regard to high-technology, after President Bush and Prime Minister Vajpayee met, both governments exchanged papers on high technology – or what we in government refer to as non-papers when they are not treated as official documents. Foreign Secretary Sibal and I then met in November 2002 to agree on the formation of the HTCG in order to operationalize the commitment of our two leaders. By convening senior government officials in the two countries under the umbrella of the HTCG, we sought to establish a Forum in which we could identify and address barriers to high technology commerce, including trade in dual-use goods and technologies, between our two countries.
The next significant step occurred in February of this year when Foreign
Secretary Sibal visited Washington, and we negotiated a “Statement of
Principles” for the HTCG. You will find a copy of the Statement of Principles
in your package of materials. The Statement of Principles set forth various
commitments by both governments. I want to bring to your attention three of
The very first principle states that, “The two Governments note that there is immense untapped potential for India-U.S. high technology commerce and recognize the importance of taking steps to remove systemic tariff and non-tariff barriers, identify and generate awareness of market opportunities, and build additional confidence in the two countries for such trade, in a way that reflects their new relationship and common strategic interests.” The second principle provides that, “The two Governments recognize that the private sectors in India and the United States are important partners in this endeavor.” And the fifth principle states that, “The two Governments, in partnership with the private sector, should consider steps for trade promotion efforts to generate awareness about market potential, relevant regulatory issues, collaboration opportunities, and financing possibilities.” And so we are here today!
In our February meetings, the governments agreed that – consistent with these three principles – the HTCG’s efforts would benefit from a conference to which private industry from both countries would be invited to share with policymakers their thoughts and views as to where the opportunities for greater high technology cooperation exist and what the impediments are to realizing such cooperation. In particular, there was a desire to focus on innovation – innovation that leads to new technology; innovation that results in new commercial relationships that allow such technologies to blossom; and innovation that leads to policy changes to facilitate such new commercial relationships.
The goal of today’s Forum is to hear from you in the private sector
– you who are on the front lines of commerce and technology –
about these issues, particularly – though not exclusively – in
areas involving information technology, defense technology, life sciences,
and nanotechnology. The outcome of your discussions here today will inform
government-to-government meetings tomorrow and going forward. In short, it is my hope that today’s Forum is the very beginning of a process – not a one-time event – that involves frequent and close contact between government and private sector representatives from both countries, as we move forward with shaping a new bilateral relationship.
Indeed, as someone who likes results – and not just talk – I am hoping that today’s conference will produce a series of specific, realistic policy proposals that can be implemented by our two governments in the near and medium term to enhance bilateral trade and investment in high-technology. We in the government want to be your vehicle for expanding our high-technology relationship. We also want to foster an expanding private sector constituency that has a stake in the U.S.-India economic relationship – and that will help us ensure that it is a stable, reliable, and prosperous relationship.
In addition, it is our goal that fora such as these will allow you in high-technology industry to share ideas, create connections, and become invigorated to propel U.S.-Indian high technology cooperation forward on your own. At the end of the day, the HTCG will not be fully effective if private sector actors do not form relationships, make deals, obtain financing, and implement plans.
So, let me stop here, and thank a few people. Thank you to the Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian Embassy here in Washington, who have assisted with organizing this event. Thank you to the Confederation of Indian Industry, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the National Association of Software and Service Companies, the Association of Venture Capital Funds of India, and the U.S.-India Business Council. In particular, let me single out for special thanks USIBC’s Executive Director Michael Clark, who has not only helped us identify many of you in the room today, but – of equal importance – is sponsoring our lunch. Thank you also to other U.S. Government agencies that are represented here today – the International Trade Administration at the Commerce Department, the State Department, the Defense Department, and the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office. And finally, a very large thank you to my deputy, Karan Bhatia, who has been instrumental in the arrangements for this Conference, to Deputy Under Secretary Ben Wu and his colleagues at our Technology Administration, which is co-sponsoring and has co-organized today’s Forum with the Bureau of Industry and Security, and to Under Secretary Phil Bond, who will serve as host. Phil is the Administration’s senior official involved in shaping technology policy and seeking to maximize technology’s contribution to America’s economic growth.
Thank you all. And now I have the great pleasure of introducing India’s former Deputy Chief of Mission here in Washington, its former Ambassador to Turkey, to Egypt, and to France, and its current Foreign Secretary, Kanwal Sibal.