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Fact Sheet
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
Washington, DC
August 10, 2007

The U.S.-U.K. Defense Trade Cooperation Treaty

Origin and Purpose

At a time when American and British forces continue to work closely together on military operations overseas, the U.S. and British Governments share the view that we can further enhance our cooperation by reducing barriers to the exchange of defense goods, services, and information between our two countries.

President Bush and former Prime Minister Blair signed a Defense Trade Cooperation Treaty on June 26, 2007, which will enable our defense establishments to achieve fully interoperable forces and to leverage the strength of our defense industries in support of our armed forces.

This cooperation will benefit the operational defense capabilities of the United States and the United Kingdom by improving the interoperability of equipment and systems between our armed forces. Our armed forces must be able to fight not only in traditional battlefield situations, but also when faced by asymmetric threats such as improvised explosive devices (IEDs). By removing barriers to communication and collaboration between our armed forces and our defense industries, we will be in the best position to counter these threats.

In addition, these new arrangements will help maintain the strength of our respective defense industries by taking advantage of the highly developed technical expertise in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Key Elements

The Defense Trade Cooperation Treaty will permit the export of certain U.S. defense articles and services to the U.K. Government and select British companies that meet specific requirements, without U.S. export licenses or other prior approvals. It also ensures the continuation of the British policy of not requiring a license for the export of U.K. defense articles and services to the United States.

The Treaty will create an approved community of the two governments and selected defense companies. Most U.S. defense articles will be eligible to be exported into and within this community without prior U.S. Government licenses or other authorizations as long as the exports are in support of:

  • Combined U.S.-U.K. military or counterterrorism operations. 
  • Joint U.S.-U.K. cooperative security and defense research, development, production, and support programs. 
  • Specific security and defense projects that are for U.K. Government use only. 
  • U. S. Government end-use.

The State Department's Directorate of Defense Trade Controls reviewed more than 70,000 cases in 2006. By removing the need to review licenses for exports to the United Kingdom in support of joint operations and U.K. Ministry of Defense programs, this treaty will allow the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls to redirect some of its resources elsewhere.


Both governments aim to finalize implementing arrangements by the end of 2007 and to complete steps necessary under their respective domestic laws to implement the treaty.

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