Ratan Tata’s offer follows directly from a recommendation made at the US – India Economic Partnership CEO forum in March 2006, which he co-chaired along with the American CEO of JP Morgan Chase, William B. Harrison Jr. Recommendation V to encourage trade and investment names the need to set up a “dispute settlement mechanism” for “ resolving legacy issues such as those impacting Dow/ Bhopal tragedy of 1984”. It is noted that this would “send a positive signal to US investors,” and would thus increase business activities of American Multination corporations in India.
Much of the recommendations made at the US-INDIA CEO forum were for a reduction of legal barriers and minimum standards that might dissuade investors and encourage them to turn elsewhere to maximize profits and minimize expenses. As a large Indian Multinational, Tata stands to gain a significant business advantage through increased partnership with American corporations. As a corporation with factories set-up throughout India, they also stand to gain from a reduction in legal liabilities that make corporations accountable to the communities in which they operate.
A January 1st, 2007 Indian Express article on Tata’s proposal for remediation of the Bhopal UC factory site notes: “Writing to the MEA on November 8, Liveris, who is a member of Indo-US CEO forum, said that it was not possible for Dow to invest in India unless the issue was cleared. The Dow CEO said that it wants to work with the local industry CEOs, Madhya Pradesh Government and New Delhi to expedite the remediation efforts.” Dow is currently planning a major expansion in India. A special task force has been set-up in the national planning commission to facilitate these expansion plans. Tata’s current proposal is thus identified as a means of fulfilling the conditions for facilitating Dow’s expansion.