Statement on UK- US Discussions On Defense Export Controls


The following joint statement by the US and UK Governments was released following the visit on 17 January 2001 to Washington of the UK Minister for Defence Procurement, Baroness Symons.


Since July 2000, our governments have engaged in extensive consultations to address our mutual security interests in promoting strong transatlantic defence industrial cooperation in the context of effective defence export controls. We have reached substantial agreement in principle to implement steps that will allow our two countries to advance both those objectives, in line with the Defense Trade Security Initiative (DTSI) announced by the US Secretary of State in May 2000 and the joint UK/US Declaration of Principles for Defense Equipment and Industrial Cooperation of February 2000.           

Our two governments have examined closely our respective national defence trade control laws, regulations, policies, and enforcement, with the aim of providing comparably effective control of defence technologies. Considerable progress has been made so far:           

**We have assured ourselves that there is a high level of commonality between the United States Munitions List and the UK Military List.           

**The UK already plans to extend export controls to intangible transfers and to trafficking and brokering, and the necessary legislation is currently being prepared. The proposed legislation would provide additional measures that would extend HMG's export controls in this area.           

**Agreement in principle has also been reached on a system under which UK companies that want to use the ITAR exemption would voluntarily register as qualified companies with the UK and US Governments, and commit themselves to abide by certain end use and retransfer assurances.           

 **The UK has proposed the introduction of possible additional procedures in its export licensing process in order to provide reassurance on re-export to replace the information that the US Government would no longer obtain from its licensing process in respect to material transferred to the UK under an ITAR waiver.           

**We have agreed to enhance further our close relationship in law enforcement cooperation on export control violations.           

 **Both sides have also agreed to exchange information on the operation of their respective export control systems and to consult regularly to ensure effective implementation of controls under the agreement.    


Our two governments are determined to increase our defence capabilities, promote interoperability and improve transatlantic defence industrial cooperation, while continuing to protect our sensitive defence technologies. While agreement in principle has been reached on many issues, some important issues remain. Both governments intend to examine jointly how maximum benefit can be obtained towards meeting their shared objectives through the implementation of the full range of elements in the DTSI initiative.            

Once a binding agreement with the United Kingdom is in place and implemented, the United States has stated that it is prepared to revise its International Traffic in Arms Regulations to permit the export to qualified companies in the United Kingdom of most unclassified defence technology without a licence.           

The US and UK defense industries have demonstrated a clear desire to enhance their collaboration. Since the signing of the Declaration of Principles in February 2000, a number of transatlantic collaborations have already occurred. BAE Systems' acquisition of both Lockheed Martin's Control Systems (June 2000) and Lockheed Martin AES (Sanders) (November 2000) has made BAE Systems North America a leading supplier of defence electronics to DoD and the sixth largest defence contractor in the US overall. A variety of other companies across product sectors have also been involved, including: Smith Industries' purchase of the Fairchild Defense Group of Orbital Sciences (October 2000); Cobham's acquisitions of Econ Microwave (August 2000) and Datron Systems' Microwave business (November 2000); and Filtronics' acquisition of Sigtek (August 2000). A number of US companies similarly have holdings in UK defence industry, including Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, TRW, and General Dynanmics. Facilitating such industry-led collaboration can advance both our governments' objectives of promoting technical innovation, cost effectiveness in defence equipment, interoperability, and mutual security.                 


Background Notes:           

**The United States Munitions List and the United Kingdom Military List set out goods and technologies for which export licences are required.           

**An ITAR waiver would involve the US waiving the requirements of its International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) for the export licensing of certain unclassified military exports from the US to the UK.

(Source : UK Ministry of Defence ; issued Jan. 18, 2001)