The US and Indian governments are currently working to implement the US-India civil nuclear cooperation agreement. The nuclear industry in both nations is closely watching and involved in this implementation, and commercial interactions have begun between US and Indian companies. While there are substantial opportunities for US suppliers in the Indian civil nuclear market, there are also significant opportunities for Indian civil nuclear companies. When fully implemented, the agreement will permit Indian companies to partner with US companies on projects in India and to pursue work in the US.
It is important that Indian civil nuclear companies that are considering partnerships with US companies fully understand the US legal framework which governs the export, re-export and transfer of nuclear reactors, components, fuel and technology. These laws are complex and have extraterritorial application; they govern not only the activities of US companies, but also of Indian companies that collaborate with US companies on projects in India or in the US. The penalties for violations can be severe.
Understanding agencies’ role
Several agencies are involved in administering US export controls on civil nuclear transactions. It is important for Indian companies that are considering cooperation with US companies to understand which US agencies may exercise jurisdiction over their activities, and to be aware of any restrictions that may apply.
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Ajay Kuntamukkala is a partner at the Washington office of law firm Hogan & Hartson. The firm has 1,100 lawyers in 27 global offices.
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