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President Trumps Plan to Boost American Weapons Exports Approved

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The C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft, made by Lockheed Martin, based in Fort Worth, Texas, was on display for potential customers at the 2018 Farnborough Airshow.

America’s largest business lobby is hailing the Trump administration’s offers to boost American weapons exports.

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Defense and Aerospace Export Council (DAEC) welcomes the State Department’s announcement concerning the approved implementation insurance policy for the Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) Policy,” council President Keith Webster said in the statement Friday.

The U.S. State Department soon announced its planned process to implement the Conventional Arms Transfer policy, which adds economic security as being a factor in the event the government considers whether or not to approve arms exports. It intends for that executive branch to advocate strongly with respect to companies exporting defense items.

Webster, who had previously been President Barack Obama’s last director of international cooperation with the Pentagon, referred to as the policy “a major first step toward improving government decision processes and policies.” Aerospace and defense firms depend on innovation and U.S. government support to compete over a global scale, he noted.

The export council recently offered some 30 tips about the best way to hardwire economic security and defense-industrial base considerations to the government’s international arms sale decisions.

“We appreciate the administration’s outreach throughout this process and so are content to see DAEC priorities inside plan, including policy changes that may improve bid timeliness while reducing costs to industries, place emphasis on economic considerations inside the federal transfer decision process, and expand trade promotion,” Webster said.

The policy has attracted pushback from arms control advocates who say it risks fueling conflicts around the globe and aiding regimes that do not respect human rights.

“If the administration is serious about claims these changes alllow for responsible policy, it will add much greater transparency in the arms transfer and monitoring process,” Forum about the Arms Trade’s founder and coordinator, Jeff Abramson, wrote a few weeks ago.

The U.S. leads the world in arms transfers, with $47 billion expected thus far this year, whereas the State Department approved $42 billion in government-to-government sales its 2017.

“Defense exports are ideal for our national security, they’re beneficial to our foreign policy. And they’re great for our economic security. And as the administration and our leadership has said, economic security is national security,” Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper, head of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, said throughout the Farnborough International Airshow on July 18.

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