Obama cites India deals to propose easing export controls

By Arun Kumar, IANS
Friday, December 10, 2010

WASHINGTON - Citing $10 billion worth of “landmark” deals with India and other trade initiatives, US President Barack Obama has proposed easing export controls on technology products for 37 allies, but India does not figure in the first list.

Easing export controls for technology items with military uses would help meet his goal of doubling American exports, Obama said Thursday at a White House meeting of his export council.

“At a time when jobs are in short supply, growing our export markets is an imperative.” he told the council chaired by Boeing Co. Chief Executive Officer James McNerney.

“The world wants products made in America, and we’ve got workers ready to make them,”

“Another thing that we said we’d do is to go to bat as a stronger advocate for our businesses abroad. This is an effort that I pledged to lead personally,” he said highlighting deals with India and Russia and a revised free-trade agreement with South Korea

“And that’s why, on the same trip where we were working to get the Korea deal done, I visited India to highlight the role American business played there and took the opportunity to sell our exports to one of the fastest-growing markets in the world.”

“While I was there, we reached several landmark deals — from Boeing jets and GE engines to medical and mining equipment — deals that are worth nearly $10 billion in exports and will support more than 50,000 American jobs,” he said.

The Commerce Department, meanwhile, asked US industry groups to review its proposal Thursday to relax limits on sales to countries such as Germany, Japan and Canada for items such as aviation navigation systems, electronic components and common resins.

During his India trip last month, Obama had promised to ease export rules for India consistent with its emergence as a strategic partner.

The US requires exporters to obtain a license to sell civilian technology that also can be used for military purposes. The restrictions vary based on US relations with a country.

Four export rules were published Thursday for comment, including new regulations on the export of military vehicles, criteria for creating a tiered system to classify technology for export and lessening restrictions on exports to certain countries.

The proposed regulation would give companies the ability to export without a prior government license for sales of many items to 37 nations: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

A narrower category of items may be sold to 125 nations without approval by the government, according to the draft rule.

The State Department Thursday separately published a proposal on how it controls the sale of military vehicles, a plan the administration is using as a template to guide how it plans to overhaul the system to regulate military items.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

Filed under: Economy

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