US arms export control reforms to improve interoperability with NATO allies took effect on 1 September as negotiations continue with the UK and Australia on more sweeping exemptions designed to promote closer military and industrial co-operation.

The first reforms to take effect are new types of licences which "reduce the number of times an exporter has to touch the US Government for authorisation", says Greg Suchan, principal deputy assistant secretary of the State Department's bureau of political-military affairs.

Also taking effect are new rules which allow US companies to provide deeper in-country maintenance and training. All the new measures apply to the NATO allies, Japan and Australia.

The UK and Australia are the first to be offered an exemption from export controls similar to that already granted to Canada. Other countries are likely to follow, says a senior state department official. Congress has moved to restrict the granting of such exemptions, but the official believes the agreements eventually reached with Australia and the UK will comply with Congressional guidelines.

Source: Flight International