U.S. Department of State
Press Statement by Philip T. Reeker, Acting Spokesman
Defense Trade Security Initiative
[Fact Sheets are linked following this press statement.]
In her statement at the Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council today in Florence, Italy, Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright announced the Defense Trade Security Initiative, which represents the first major post-Cold War adjustment to the U.S. Defense Export Control system. The U.S. authorizes over $20 billion in responsible commercial defense trade each year and is taking significant steps to speed up processing of munitions export approvals to benefit all of its trading partners. The initiative improves the efficiency and competition in defense markets, while maintaining the necessary export controls to safeguard mutual security.
To enhance security, the U.S. is prepared to establish new International Traffic and Arms Regulation licensing exemptions for unclassified defense items, data and services for qualified firms in allied countries with which we sign a bilateral agreement and that adopt and demonstrate export controls and technology security system that are comparable in effectiveness to those of the United States. These new Regulation licensing exemptions cover unclassified exports to foreign governments and companies who are identified as reliable by the U.S. Government in consultation with foreign governments.
We will establish this new approach with Treaty allies that meet U.S. requirements for commonality and reciprocity in exports and industrial security; long-standing and successful cooperation in intelligence sharing and law enforcement; and guaranteed reciprocal market access. Among allied countries, the U.S. will initiate negotiations first with the U.K. and Australia, given our long history of cooperation in a number of relevant security areas, their compatible control and technology security systems and their significant industrial linkages with the U.S.
Also included in the initiative are special reforms, available to NATO Allies, Japan and Australia, that work to streamline the U.S. Defense Export Control licensing process and forge closer industrial linkages between the U.S. and allied defense suppliers.
The U.S. Defense Trade Security Initiative is designed to support NATO's Defense Capabilities Initiative that was launched at the Washington Summit last year by NATO Heads of State and Governments to ensure that the Alliance has conventional military forces designed and equipped for 21st Century missions.
The reform includes a range of flexible, new licensing vehicles, established for NATO countries, Japan and Australia, that will allow "one stop" streamlined licensing instead of the multiple licenses now required for government programs and commercial sales to foreign governments, international cooperative programs, and commercial ventures.
The U.S. goal is to make significant steps toward maintaining interoperability within the NATO alliance during a period of rapid defense industrial consolidation. The U.S. is committed to maintaining a strong and robust trans-Atlantic defense industrial base that can provide innovative and affordable products needed to meet Treaty allies' defense needs for the 21st Century and beyond.
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