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MEDIA ADVISORY                                                                                              MEDIA INQUIRIES:

  Donna Thiessen 

                                                                                                                                                                        (703) 875-4357

USTDA INITIATIVE PROMOTES COOPERATION

IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF INDIA’S BIOTECHNOLOGY MARKET

 

NEW DELHI, INDIA – (March 2, 2006) Increasing bilateral cooperation in the development of India’s agricultural market is the goal of a $1.3 million U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) technical assistance and training program announced today as part of the U.S.-India Joint Statement signed by U.S. President George W. Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.  The Joint Statement launched the Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture to support joint activities in this sector, including capacity-building projects.  The USTDA program, which is heavily focused on agricultural biotechnology and is comprised of three components, is designed to support this Initiative. 

 

Under the first component, USTDA will fund a $500,000 training program for Indian officials on biosafety risk assessment and policies and practices in regulating agricultural biotechnology products.  The training program follows the release of the Indian government’s National Draft Strategy Framework for Biotechnology.   

 

The second component consists of a $500,000 technical assistance program to design and implement improvements to existing cold chain infrastructure in India through a series of in-country technical workshops and training seminars.  This program seeks to address inefficiencies in the current system that both prevent regionally produced agricultural commodities from competing under international market specifications, and limit Indian imports of U.S. and other perishable goods.

 

Under the third component of the initiative unveiled today, USTDA will fund a $330,000 agricultural and pharmaceutical biotechnology training program for patent examiners in India’s patent office under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.  This training will provide capacity-building benefits to the patent office as it responds to the growing number of patent applications submitted by local and international biotechnology firms to the Indian government.  The training will advance intellectual property rights protection in India and facilitate trade in biotechnology. 

 

The Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture is part of the Economic Prosperity and Trade elements of the U.S.-India Joint Statement signed today.  For more information on the statement, visit www.whitehouse.gov.  More information on USTDA’s program in India is available on the agency’s website at www.ustda.gov.

 

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries.  The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, feasibility studies, training, orientation visits and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment.  USTDA’s strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in host countries creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development.  In carrying out its mission, USTDA gives emphasis to economic sectors that may benefit from U.S. exports of goods and services.

 

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