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US President Donald Trump has ordered government agencies to expedite and expand arms sales abroad, including exports of advanced drones to reinforce allied armies, the White House has said, a move expected to be helpful to countries like India.
He also established a new administration policy on the export of American-manufacturing unmanned aerial systems, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says.
The move is expecting to helpful to countries like India, a Major Defence Partner which is seeking to purchase a large number of armed and surveillance drones from the US.
President Trump signed a National Security Presidential Memorandum approving a new Conventional Arms Transfer policy, Sanders said yesterday.
The new CAT policy reflects the priorities set out in the President’s National Security Strategy and provides a framework under which all US Government agencies will review and evaluate proposed arms transfers and approve commercial defense sales by American companies, she says.
“These updated policies reflect the President’s commitment to peace through strength by building up our allies and partners, expanding opportunities for American industry, creating American jobs, and advancing the national security interests of the United States,” Sanders says.
Asserting that American industry produces the most sophisticated and effective defense systems in the world, Sanders said: “the announcements are key first steps in a series of government-wide initiatives to strengthen our allies, support the manufacturing and defense industrial base, and drive American job creation and innovation.”
Peter Navarro, Assistant to President for Trade and Manufacturing Policy, tells reporters that providing allies and partners with greater access to American arms will reduce their reliance not just on Chinese knock-offs, but also on Russian systems, consistent with the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.
“For too long we hamstrung ourselves and limited ability to provide our allies and partners with the defensive capabilities they require, even when in the US interest.
President Trump’s new CAT policy, which reforms the myopic 2014 policy of his predecessor, will ensure that American interests are put first in our own decision making,” he says.
The administration’s UAS export policy will level the playing field by enabling US firms to increase their direct sales to authorized allies and partners.
By expanding international sales opportunities, US industry will be further incentivized to do what they do best: invest and innovate.
It will keep US defense industrial base in the vanguard of emerging defense technologies while creating thousands of additional jobs with good wages and generating substantial export revenues, he says.
“The US aerospace and defense industries contribute almost a trillion dollars annually to our economy and support about 2.5 million jobs while maintaining a significant global trade surplus.
“As President Trump works to balance our trade with the rest of the world, further strengthening a critical part of our export economy and defense industrial base is a logical and critical step,” Navarro says.
He said although the US leads the way in UAS technology, overly restrictive policies enacted by the previous administration have accelerated an undesirable outcome.
Strategic competitors like China are aggressively marketing. The international markets are forecast to be worth more than USD 50 billion a year within the next decade.
“Already, we see Chinese replicas of American UAS technology deployed on the runways in the Middle East. In June at the Paris Air Show, China’s Chengdu Aircraft Group featured its Wing Loong II medium-altitude, long-endurance UAS, a clear knockoff of General Atomics Reaper,” he says.
According to Tina Kaidanow, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, the US is enabling not just some additional sales of MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime) Category 1; it is looking at allowing these companies to directly make sales to the countries rather than via the US government.
“That is a major change. And we will give it additional space for marketing of these systems and the eventual sale, assuming that they meet all other criteria, the sale meets all the other criteria that we would normally consider,” Kaida now adding.
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