Letter Supporting the U.S.-India 123 Agreement
October 1, 2008
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses of every size, sector, and region, strongly supports the U.S.-India 123 Agreement and urges you to support H.R. 7081, "United States-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act," without amendment.
The U.S.-India civil nuclear initiative will bring India into the international nuclear nonproliferation mainstream and enhance the safety of India's civil program. The initiative will also help to revitalize the U.S. nuclear industry and create thousands of high-tech American jobs.
The Chamber strongly opposes amendments, which are expected to deal with nuclear weapons testing, because amending the U.S.-India 123 Agreement at this late stage would imperil this historic agreement. Testing and nonproliferation issues are already addressed fully by the Atomic Energy and Hyde Acts, U.S. export controls, and the U.S.-India 123 Agreement itself. The amendments would also conflict with the approach of the Nuclear Suppliers Group which, together with the International Atomic Energy Agency, unanimously approved civil nuclear trade with India in recent weeks.
India's civil nuclear program commenced operation when its first reactor, made by General Electric, began producing nuclear power in 1961. With India's 34-year nuclear isolation now history, the opportunity for U.S. companies today is tremendous, with an expected 30,000 to 60,000 MWe of new nuclear generating capacity by 2030, representing a potential $150 billion of new investment. If U.S. 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 of mutual trust and respect is established.
It is crucial that the Senate approve the U.S.-India 123 Agreement today, without amendment. French and Russian firms are already working in India, yet U.S. firms cannot engage until Congressional approval of the 123 Agreement.
Congress has a historic opportunity to strengthen the growing partnership between the world's oldest and largest democracies and support thousands of U.S. jobs in the process. The Chamber strongly urges you to approve H.R. 7081 without amendment and may consider votes on, or in relation to, this issue in our annual How They Voted scorecard.
R. Bruce Josten