President Barack Obama will announce the easing of U.S. controls on exports to India when he addresses business leaders here on Saturday, in a move to boost trade between the two countries, the White House said.
Obama, who kicked off a 10-day tour of Asia with a big push for U.S. business with India, will address a business summit to showcase U.S. goods as U.S. businesses finalize deals worth around $10 billion with India. These will support 54,000 jobs back home, White House aide Michael Froman told reporters.
Deals include previously announced transactions involving General Electric for aircraft engines and gas turbines, and Boeing for 737 passenger planes. But details on a key $4.5 billion sale by Boeing of C-17 military transport planes were still being ironed out.
Outlining a series of measures to ease export controls, imposed after India's most recent nuclear test in 1998, Froman said the president will also support Indian membership of four key global nuclear non-proliferation regimes.
"This really includes India as a major player in a non- proliferation world...and it recognizes the nature of the strategic relationship we now have with India," he said.
The four regimes are the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Australian Group, which aims to reduce the spread of chemical and biological weapons, and the Wassenaar Arrangement, a multinational effort to control the transfer of conventional arms and dual-use technology.
Obama will remove almost all of the remaining Indian defence and space organizations from a list of entities maintained by the U.S. government to curb proliferation, and relax so called dual-use rules for Indian firms that regulate technology with both civil and defence applications.
"We will end up treating India similar to other close allies and partners other than as a country of concern," Froman said.
Terry McGraw, head of McGraw-Hill Companies and chairman of the U.S.-India Business Council, said Obama's visit came at a vital time amid rising anti-trade rhetoric spurred by high unemployment at home and elsewhere.
"When you've gone through an economic downturn to the extent that we have, a lot of countries very easily go protectionist and we've seen a lot of protectionism around the world. You can't win in a protectionist kind of view," he said.
Obama's Democrats lost control on the U.S. House of Representatives in midterm congressional elections after a campaign marked by pointed criticism of China and outsourcing hubs for services including India.
Obama got a briefing on progress on boosting U.S. business with India from Boeing chief Jim McNerney, who met him at the airport in Mumbai and accompanied the president on the helicopter flight into the city.
Boeing hopes to benefit from billions of dollars in contracts to overhaul the country's mainly Russian-supplied military, a legacy of their cold war ties.
Those orders include a $11 billion deal for 126 fighter jets for which Lockheed Martin Corp. France's Dassault, Russia's MiG-35, Sweden's Saab and the Eurofighter Typhoon are also competing.