Foreign contractors may soon see more openness in the US defence market, not less, Lord Bach, the UK's Minister for Defence Procurement, said at the show yesterday.

Acknowledging that the US Department of Defense is under pressure to 'Buy American', he commented: "In Britain we enjoy a free defence market, and I understand that the US Congress wants to move in the same direction."

Britain, he added, would "very much regret it" if legislation were passed limiting foreign access to the US market.

His comments were echoed by Gordon Page, president of the Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC), who said Britain's defence industry is the loser when it comes to reciprocal foreign market access. "The other guys have more access to our markets than we do to theirs," he complained.

Lord Bach pointed out that the UK spends 44% of its defence budget (about £10 billion a year) on equipment, making the MoD UK industry's single biggest customer. About 80% of orders are placed after competitive tenders.

Source: Flight Daily News