Tag Archives: US Congress

India-U.S. Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement changed the Colours of leaves of the US-India relationship: Narendra Modi

Newsroom24x7 Staff

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the Joint Meeting of U.S. Congress during his visit to USA
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the Joint Meeting of U.S. Congress during his visit to USA

Washington DC: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has described the fall of 2008, when the US Congress passed the India-U.S. Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, as the defining moment that changed the very colours of leaves of the US-India relationship.

The Indian Prime Minister made this observation while addressing the Joint Meeting of U.S. Congress during his visit to USA.

The 123 Agreement or the India-U.S. Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement was signed between the United States of America and the Republic of India after a joint statement was signed on July 18, 2005, by then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and then U.S. President George W. Bush. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Bill to approve the Nuclear deal on September 28, 2008. Under this agreement India agreed to separate its civil and military nuclear facilities and place all its civil nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. As an inbuilt reciprocacity, the United States agreed to extend full civil nuclear cooperation to India.

In is address, Modi also recalled how more than fifteen years ago, the then Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee had adressed the US Congress and gave a call to step out of the ‘shadow of hesitation’ of the past.

“The pages of our friendship since then tell a remarkable story. Today, our relationship has overcome the hesitations of history. Comfort, candour and convergence define our conversations”, stated Modi.

While Vajpayee called India and the U.S. ‘natural allies’ the US President Obama has called our ties the defining partnership of the 21st century, the Prime Minister further remarked.

Modi thanked the US Congress saying India will never forget the solidarity shown by the U.S. Congress when terrorists from across our border (Pakistan) attacked Mumbai in November of 2008. And for this, we are grateful. He was emphatic in saying: “We thank you for being there when the partnership needed you the most.”

Click here for full text of Prime Minister’s address to the Joint Session of U.S. Congress

US Congress allows Export-Import Bank of the United States to lapse for first time in history on July 1

Newsroom24x7 Staff

ex-im_usaWashington DC: Despite the strong bipartisan support for reauthorization, the Republican-controlled Congress has gone into recess without holding a meaningful vote on Export-Import Bank, allowing Ex-Im to lapse on July 1 for the first time in history—after 16 reauthorizations,

A fact-sheet brought out by the White House office of the Press Secretary underscores the point about the Republican-controlled Congress going into recess without a vote on Ex-Im and goes on to state that after 81 years of continuous operation, and a record of supporting a level playing field for American businesses and American workers, “a vocal minority in Washington is putting ideology ahead of American workers. That puts real American jobs at risk—at businesses small and large—and harms our global leadership. Businesses ready to make a sale abroad will not be able to get the new financing they need to close the deal. Workers—ready to produce the Made-In-America goods to meet that sale—will have to stand idle, take fewer hours and a pay cut, or lose their jobs.”

Detailing the role of Ex-Im, the fact-sheet says that it supported $27.5 billion in exports through more than 3,700 transactions—an average of roughly $2.3 billion and 300 transactions each month. While the Bank will continue to service existing loans, guarantees, and insurance policies, with Ex-Im unable to offer new financing starting on July 1, American businesses and workers would be missing new opportunities right away.

Competitors will fill the void left by Ex-Im’s expiration

When Ex-Im lapses, the White House fact-sheet points out, China and other foreign rivals will pick up the slack, putting American businesses and American workers at a disadvantage. In fact, a senior official from one of China’s versions of the Export-Import Bank told reporters recently that Ex-Im going away would be “a good thing” for China.

The fact-sheet goes on to add:

“There are 85 export credit agencies like Ex-Im in nearly 60 countries around the world fighting for sales and export-backed jobs—and starting on July 1, none of them will be in the United States. All American small business owners and workers are asking for is a level playing field. When U.S. exporters go into global markets armed with financing from Ex-Im, they have an opportunity to compete on their merits; when they do, they win. When they don’t, they have to fight an uphill battle. Now is not the time to pull the rug out from under them.

Nearly every developed country and all the major emerging economies have an export credit agency. And while the majority of global official export credit agency activity remained flat in 2014, China’s grew by over 40 percent. Ex-Im estimates that Chinese institutions supported roughly $58 billion in “standard” export credits in 2014—exceeding the medium- and long- term support from all of the G-7 countries combined (a total of $50.9 billion in 2014).

Businesses and workers in every State stand to lose from Ex-Im expiration

Over the last six years, Ex-Im has supported a total of $235 billion of exports from more than 7,500 businesses—about 5,000 of whom, or two-thirds, are small businesses. As the tables below show, businesses and workers in every state benefit from the support of Ex-Im, so every state economy stands to lose every month Ex-Im is not reauthorized.”

The Fact-sheet (from the Office of the White House Press Secretary)

The Export-Import Bank: Supporting American Exports and American workers in every State across the country

Because Congress failed to act, the Export-Import Bank’s Authorization would lapse at Midnight (July 1) for the first time in history, hurting Businesses and Workers in every State

The Export-Import Bank, or “Ex-Im,” is a critical tool in the bipartisan trade agenda that helps U.S. businesses succeed in global markets and grow their exports. Ex-Im equips companies with financing they need to go toe-to-toe with foreign rivals, resulting in more exports and more well-paying jobs in cities and towns here in America, rather than overseas. The Export-Import Bank:

Ex-Im boosts exports that support well-paying American jobs. The Bank has financed the sale of more than $200 billion in U.S. exports over the last six years, supporting over 1.3 million private-sector American jobs, including 164,000 jobs in Fiscal Year 2014 alone. Last year, Ex-Im financed the sale of $27.5 billion in exports through more than 3,700 transactions, including nearly $16.6 billion in manufacturing exports—and jobs supported by exports are good jobs, paying up to 18 percent more on average than other jobs.
Ex-Im is a vital tool for small businesses: In FY 2014, nearly 90 percent of Ex-Im’s transactions—more than 3,340—directly supported American small businesses. That does not include the vast number of small businesses benefiting indirectly as suppliers to Ex-Im’s larger customers.
Doesn’t Cost Taxpayers a Penny. Ex-Im doesn’t cost taxpayers a penny. In fact, due to fees and interest, the Bank generated $675 million in returns for taxpayers last year. Default rates on Ex-Im loans were tiny, at just 0.175 percent. Over the last two decades, the Bank has wired $6.9 billion to the U.S. Treasury to support deficit reduction.

Ex-Im has a strong bipartisan support. Ex-Im has earned the support of the last 13 U.S. presidents, Republicans and Democrats alike. Recently, 65 senators from both parties expressed support for Ex-Im’s reauthorization; in the House, a strong bipartisan majority of about 250 members have put their names onto bills reauthorizing Ex-Im. Ex-Im was reauthorized with substantial majorities of support from each party in 2002, 2006, and 2012.

Japan’s Abe to US Congress: Let us bring the TPP to a successful conclusion through our joint leadership

Newsroom24x7 Desk

Japanese prime Minister Shinzo Abe (representative photo)
Japanese prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivering a speech at Harvard Kennedy School

Washington DC: Shinzo Abe, the first Japanese Prime Minister ever to address the joint meeting of the US Congress on Wednesday said as for U.S. – Japan negotiations, the goal is near. Let us bring the TPP to a successful conclusion through our joint leadership.

Zooming in on the entire concept of Trans-Pacific Partnership, Abe said; “prosperity was fostered first by the U.S., and second by Japan. And prosperity is nothing less than the seedbed for peace.

Involving countries in Asia-Pacific whose backgrounds vary, the U.S. and Japan must take the lead. We must take the lead to build a market that is fair, dynamic, sustainable, and is also free from the arbitrary intentions of any nation.

In the Pacific market, we cannot overlook sweat shops or burdens on the environment. Nor can we simply allow free riders on intellectual property.

No. Instead, we can spread our shared values around the world and have them take root: the rule of law, democracy, and freedom.

That is exactly what the TPP is all about.

Furthermore, the TPP goes far beyond just economic benefits. It is also about our security. Long-term, its strategic value is awesome. We should never forget that.

The TPP covers an area that accounts for 40 per cent of the world economy, and one third of global trade. We must turn the area into a region for lasting peace and prosperity.

That is for the sake of our children and our children’s children.

As for U.S. – Japan negotiations, the goal is near. Let us bring the TPP to a successful conclusion through our joint leadership.”

Reflecting on the post-World War II phase, Abe said About the post-war phase, Abe said: “70 years ago, Japan had been reduced to ashes.

Then came each and every month from the citizens of the United States gifts to Japan like milk for our children and warm sweaters, and even goats. Yes, from America, 2,036 goats came to Japan.

And it was Japan that received the biggest benefit from the very beginning by the post-war economic system that the U.S. had fostered by opening up its own market and calling for a liberal world economy.

Later on, from the 1980’s, we saw the rise of the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, the ASEAN countries, and before long, China as well.

This time, Japan too devotedly poured in capital and technologies to support their growths.

Meanwhile in the U.S., Japan created more employment than any other foreign nation but one, coming second only to the U.K.”

Abe, who studied in California and also took a job at a steelmaker said the American culture has ‘intoxicated’ him. “in the U.S. rank and hierarchy are neither here nor there. People advance based on merit. When you discuss things you don’t pay much attention to who is junior or senior. You just choose the best idea, no matter who the idea was from”, the Japanese Prime Minister observed.

Eulogising the American example, Abe said: “The son of a farmer-carpenter can become the President… The fact that such a country existed woke up the Japanese of the late 19th century to democracy.”

Focusing on the World War II Memorial that he visited, Abe said” “It was a place of peace and calm that struck me as a sanctuary. The air was filled with the sound of water breaking in the fountains. In one corner stands the Freedom Wall. More than 4,000 gold stars shine on the wall. I gasped with surprise to hear that each star represents the lives of 100 fallen soldiers.”

Expressing deep repentance, Abe said: “The battles engraved at the Memorial crossed my mind, and I reflected upon the lost dreams and lost futures of those young Americans.

History is harsh. What is done cannot be undone.

With deep repentance in my heart, I stood there in silent prayers for some time.

My dear friends, on behalf of Japan and the Japanese people, I offer with profound respect my eternal condolences to the souls of all American people that were lost during World War II.”

Drawing attention to Lt. Gen. Lawrence Snowden in the gallery, Abe said, Seventy years ago in February, he had landed on Iōtō, or the island of Iwo Jima, as a captain in command of a company. In recent years, General Snowden has often participated in the memorial services held jointly by Japan and the U.S. on Iōtō. Next to General. Snowden sits Diet Member Yoshitaka Shindo, who is a former member of my Cabinet. His grandfather, General Tadamichi Kuribayashi, whose valor we remember even today, was the commander of the Japanese garrison during the Battle of Iwo Jima.

The Japanese Prime Minister went on to observe: “What should we call this, if not a miracle of history? Enemies that had fought each other so fiercely have become friends bonded in spirit.”

Source: Citation from Official Website of the Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet (http://japan.kantei.go.jp/97_abe/statement/201504/uscongress.html).


Iran, nuclear weapons, Netanyahu and the US

Newsroom24x7 Desk

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu  told US Congress that negotiations would 'guarantee’ that Tehran will get nuclear weapons.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the US Congress that negotiations would ‘guarantee’ that Tehran will get nuclear weapons.

Us will have the military option if Iran fails to comply with an agreement on nuclear weapons

Washington DC: Even as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu went ahead and urged the US Congress Tuesday to block the signing of a deal to contain Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons coinciding with international negotiations in Switzerland, the Obama administration continued to maintain the stand that the US will have the military option if Iran fails to comply with an (emerging) agreement to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Netanyahu told the US Congress that the terms outlined by US President Obama for an agreement to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons would lead to a nuclear armed Iran whose “unbridled aggression will inevitably lead to a nuclear war”.

Obama showed short-shrift to Netanyahu by dubbing his address as “nothing new”

Immediately before Netanyahu’s address before the US Congress on the Iran issue, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest had told media-persons that it is the responsibility of the Prime Minister to make his own decisions about where he wants to go. But what should not be lost on anybody is the strategy that President Obama has put in place to deal with Iran’s nuclear program. It is consistent with achieving our goal of ensuring that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon, he added.

The goal, according to Earnest, is to succeeded in essentially shutting down four pathways to Iran acquiring the fissile material that’s necessary to build a nuclear weapon. The first is to deal with the enrichment capacity at the Natanz facility. The second is to deal with the enrichment capacity at the Fordow facility. The third is to deal with the plutonium enrichment capacity at the heavy-water reactor that’s currently under construction at Arak. And fourth, to ensure that Iran does not have the capacity to pursue a covert option at a facility that is not yet known to the international community.

Because of economic pressure and isolation Iran has come to the negotiating table, the Press Secretary said adding what we are hopeful that we can achieve in the context of these negotiations is to shutdown these four clear paths to the fissile material that’s necessary to build a nuclear weapon.

Earnest went on to emphasise that Obama has repeatedly made the point that if they indicate that they are not willing to comply with an agreement — once one is signed — then we continue to have all of these options on the table. We can add additional sanctions to the mix if we feel like that would be successful. We’ll even have a military option that continues to be available to the President.