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Defence Trade Co-operation

Volume 709: debated on Wednesday 1 April 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of the United States on progress on a United Kingdom–United States defence trade co-operation treaty. [HL2561]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the likely response of the United States Congress to a United Kingdom–United States defence trade co-operation treaty. [HL2562]

Her Majesty's Government continue to discuss the Defence Trade Co-operation Treaty with the US Government at all levels. The Prime Minister wrote recently to President Obama on the matter, and the Foreign and Commonwealth and Defence Secretaries have also received assurances from their US counterparts about support for early ratification. Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have also been engaged. At the working level, MoD officials in the British Defence Staff in Washington regularly discuss treaty implementation with their US colleagues in preparation for ratification. The next meeting with UK-based officials will take place later in April.

The treaty still requires the advice and consent of the US Senate, and the UK has worked hard to ensure that senators are aware of the importance the UK places on it and the benefits for both nations in operational and industrial terms. Although ratification is wholly a matter for the Senate, we understand that there are no substantive objections to the treaty. Officials are nevertheless ready to provide further clarification on certain aspects of implementation and enforcement. HMG remain hopeful that the treaty will receive advice and consent from the US Senate in the near future.