AUKUS partners break new ground in defence trade relations

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Image credit: Department of Defence

Australia has applauded the United States Government for taking concrete measures to enhance export control licensing requirements for the AUKUS trilateral partners.

In a media release, the government said that “a licence-free environment between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States will revolutionise collaboration and enable unprecedented levels of scientific, technological and industrial cooperation and co-development.”

As part of the licence-free environment, the United States Department of Commerce announced a national exemption for Australia and the United Kingdom from the Export Administration Regulations.

This exemption, valued at almost USD 2 billion, will streamline US export licences for dual-use goods to Australia, marking a crucial step in facilitating smoother trade relations.

According to the government, the establishment of a licence-free dual-use export environment among AUKUS partners signifies another milestone towards creating a seamless environment for innovation and collaboration.

This action follows the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 in December 2023, which granted full national exemptions for Australia and the United Kingdom from US export control licensing requirements for military end-use items.

The US initiative is complemented by the Defence Trade Controls Amendment Act 2024, passed by the Australian Parliament in March 2024.

This Act reciprocally exempts the United States and the United Kingdom from Australia’s export control permit requirements.

To streamline defence trade, cooperation, and collaboration, the AUKUS trilateral partners are poised to take further significant steps forward.

The Australian Government said it intends to release amendments to the Defence Trade Controls Regulation 2013 and Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958 for public consultation, aligning with the provisions of the Defence Trade Controls Amendment Act 2024.

In September 2024, the national exemption for the United States and the United Kingdom from Australia’s export control legislation will come into effect.

The United States Department of State will also release the International Traffic in Arms Regulations for public consultation, ensuring the exemption’s implementation for Australia and the United Kingdom.

Similarly, the United Kingdom will release its Open General Export Licence in September 2024, facilitating the exemption for Australia and the United States.

These exemptions will eliminate licensing requirements for most military goods and technology items exported or transferred within the AUKUS partnership.