Washington, February 21:

The 5th US-India High Technology Cooperation Group (HTCG) meeting here will focus on streamlining the export control regimes of the two countries that hamper trade and investment in high technology.

“Our objective for this Summit is to deepen high technology trade and investment between the world’s two largest free-market democracies,” said a pro-India business group as Indian foreign secretary Shivshankar Menon arrived here yesterday to co-chair the February 22-23 meeting. “The evolving dialogue of the HTCG shows deepening interest in high technology trade and investment consistent with the US-India Strategic Partnership-which culminated last year in passage by the US Congress of civilian nuclear cooperation between the US and India,” said United States-India Business Council (USIBC) president Ron Somers.

USIBC, which is hosting the Washington meeting, is the premier advocacy organisation representing the largest US companies investing in India, joined by global Indian companies, promoting economic reforms to deepen trade and broaden commercial ties with India. The meeting co-chaired on US side by deputy secretary of commerce David A Sampson will also open a dialogue about Indian eligibility for the US Department of Commerce’s new Validated End-User programme also known as the Trusted Customer Programme.

Menon is expected to press for removal of some extant san-ctions on trade in some high te-chnology items between India and the US at the official level bilateral discussions scheduled for Friday after the private sector business interactions. US secretary of commerce Carlos M Gutierrez, just back from his first mission to India, will deliver keynote address to the group at the US Chamber of Comme-rce on Thursday. He will discuss emerging avenues of trade and cooperation in high technology.

A day-long business-to-business interactive discussion on the theme of ‘A Strategic Partnership for the 21st Century - New Horizons for US-India Business’ will address critical issues affecting US-India high te-chnology cooperation. It will cover areas like information tec-hnology, telecommunications, defence/strategic cooperation, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, and IPR.