The UK House of Commons Defence Committee has endorsed the UK/US Defence Trade Cooperation Treaty, which will relax restrictions on the sharing of defence technology between the two countries.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George Bush signed the treaty in June.

The treaty will allow approved American and British companies to export defence equipment for use by the other nation’s government without going through a lengthy approval process for each technology.

The treaty does not allow highly sensitive technologies (such as stealth planes) to be exported or for the imported technology to be sold on to other nations.

Defence Committee chairman James Arbuthnot says the treaty “should make a step-change in our defence collaboration with the US and make a real difference to our troops on the ground”.

The treaty is aimed at encouraging the British military and defence industry to purchase American technology, which it cannot do unless the American company receives a license for export from the State Department.

Receiving the export license takes months and encourages British customers to look elsewhere for technology.

General Dynamics UK president Sandy Wilson told the Defence Committee “there are many advantages to not using US technology because of the administrative burden”.

By Tim McAtackney