Progress made on US-UK trade treaty
23 September 2010
A treaty to speed up defence deals between the United States and the UK has been approved by a US senate committee, it has been announced.
Originally signed in June 2007 by then-Prime Minister Tony Blair and Former US President George Bush, the US-UK Defence Trade Cooperation Treaty has still not been ratified, but has passed another stage in its development following approval by the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The treaty, which would remove the requirement for both countries to obtain licences to trade in certain categories of arms and technologies, will now be considered by the US Senate and House of Representatives.
Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox is understood to have pushed for progress to be made on the treaty during a visit to the US in July.
"We are very keen to continue building upon the already strong US-UK relationship and this treaty plays a vital part," he said. "I am encouraged to see that progress is being made and I hope now that it will be possible now to move swiftly towards agreement when it is considered by the Senate and House of Representatives."
Rees Ward, Chief Executive of defence industry body ADS, said: "This is very welcome news. The UK-US partnership is a crucial one both industrially and in terms of the close working relationship between our armed forces around the world. We look forward to what we hope will be a swift and successful passage of the treaty in Congress as the final hurdle towards its implementation to benefit the troops and the economies of both countries."
At the time of its initial signing, the UK Defence select committee welcomed the treaty, describing the current trade arrangements as "unduly burdensome and time-consuming". The committee also argued that the system at present "discourages UK/US industrial collaboration" and slows down the process of getting equipment into theatre.