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Australia Moves Law in Parliament to Limit Sharing of Military Tech with Foreigners, Exempts US, UK

He Australian government on Thursday introduced controversial new legislation in parliament that will tighten restrictions on how military technology is shared with foreigners while exempting the US and UK, both of which are members of the AUKUS trilateral security partnership.  

In a statement, the Defense Ministry said the new legislation will unlock billions of dollars in investment and cut red tape for Australia’s defense industry and AUKUS partners.

Defense Minister Richard Marles introduced the proposed Defence Trade Controls Amendment Bill 2023 in parliament ahead of his trip to the US to attend the second AUKUS defense minister meeting on Friday.

Under the new legislation, Canberra’s existing trade controls will be expanded to protect their cutting-edge military technologies, the statement said.

The ministry said this legislation will also provide a “national exemption” for the trade of defense goods and technologies with the US and UK.

Local media, however, criticized the proposed law, fearing that it would stifle technology cooperation with non-AUKUS partners such as Japan, South Korea, France, Germany, and others.

“Whenever it cooperates with the US it will surrender any sovereign capability it develops to United States control and bureaucracy,” ABC News quoted Bill Greenwalt, who wrote much of America’s defense procurement laws, as saying.

“In exchange, Australia got nothing except the hope that the US will remove process barriers that will allow the US to essentially steal and control Australian technology faster,” Greenwalt said.

However, Defense Minister Marles said the new legislation will provide Australian industry, including the science and research sectors, greater opportunities for collaboration and trade with AUKUS partners without burdensome red tape.

“This will benefit defence industry in Australia, unlocking over AUD$5 billion (over $3.3 billion) – more than half of our annual exports – to our AUKUS partners,” Marles said.

Earlier in March of this year, former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating slammed Anthony Albanese’s government for a tripartite deal with the US and UK to build a nuclear submarine, calling it the Labor party’s worst international decision.

On Sept. 15, 2021, the three nations announced the formation of AUKUS, a trilateral security treaty for the Indo-Pacific region. It is primarily intended for China, which is becoming more assertive in the region.

Source : aa