Defense Trade Treaties Stall in Congress

By Jeff Abramson

Congress adjourned in October without acting on proposed defense trade treaties inked in 2007 with Australia and the United Kingdom. Other presidentially directed adjustments in how the Department of State administers defense trade did progress, with a new fee structure announced for license reviews.

On Sept. 17, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman and Democratic vice presidential candidate Joseph Biden (Del.) and committee ranking member Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) delivered a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice indicating that the committee could not complete its review of treaties with London and Canberra this year. In 2007 the United States submitted to the Senate separate defense trade cooperation treaties with Australia and the United Kingdom that would create licensing exemptions for preapproved defense projects and firms. Proponents argued that the pacts would be especially helpful in developing and deploying counterterrorism technology by making it easier for members of the preapproved communities to work together. (See ACT, September and October 2007.)

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