UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George Bush have signed a treaty to end the requirement for US defence equipment and technology to be granted an individual export licence, marking a major victory for outgoing Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The treaty will make it easier and faster to exchange goods, helping the armed forces to share classified information to keep ahead of the rapidly evolving insurgent threats currently faced by the armed forces of both countries.

The deal will also help speed up the export of off-the-shelf equipment purchased by the UK under the urgent operational requirements classification.

The UK Ministry of Defence says it expects both nation’s defence industries to be able to take advantage of their technical experience to develop and field the most effective military capabilities possible. The treaty also potentially enables British companies to bid more easily on US defence programs by removing barriers to technology transfer.