IT may not top agenda at US-India tech trade meeting

A meeting on technology cooperation between U.S. and Indian officials and business representatives in Delhi at the end of this month is unlikely to have a significant impact on IT trade between the two countries, because of the already booming and stable two-way trade in IT between the two countries, according to Indian IT industry representatives.

United States-India Business Council (USIBC), an advocacy organization representing U.S. companies with interests in India, is hosting a High Technology Cooperation Group (HTCG) Mission to India at the end of this month, covering defense, life sciences, information technology, and nanotechnology.

There are no major issues between the two countries in the IT area, said Sunil Mehta, vice president of the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) in Delhi. The U.S. recognizes that India is a technology partner as well as a large market for U.S. technology products, he added.

A number of U.S. IT companies have development operations in India, or outsource work to Indian technology companies. A number of U.S. IT companies also sell products in India. Although there are occasional issues or minor irritations that do come up and affect IT trade, there are already mechanisms in place to resolve that on a continuous basis, Mehta said.

The main objectives of the HTCG mission will be to facilitate private sector interaction, inform government officials about U.S. industry concerns, and negotiate deliverables ahead of U.S. President George Bush’s visit to India, according to USIBC. U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce David McCormick will lead a high-level delegation from the U.S. departments of Commerce, State and Defense.

“We expect that the focus of this meeting will be on biotechnology, defense and pharmaceutical patents,” Mehta said. NASSCOM is, however, using the opportunity to brief visiting U.S. officials and business representatives about the initiatives India has taken in the area of data protection, including proposed amendments to the Information Technology Act 2000, he added.

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