Economy

US State Department Eases Restrictions on Military Drone Exports to Foreign Nations

US State Department Eases Restrictions on Military Drone Exports to Foreign Nations”

The Trump administration has pressed ahead with its revamp of drone export policy under pressure from American manufacturers and despite objections from human rights advocates, who warn of the risk of fueling instability in hot spots including the Middle East and South Asia.

The White House announced that President Donald Trump had approved a move to diverge partly from the 1987 Missile Technology Control Regime, in which 35 countries agreed to restrict the sales of unmanned weapons delivery systems. "This will increase our national security by improving the capabilities of our partners and increase our economic security by opening the expanding UAV market".

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"This policy change means that the UAVs under 800 kmph will no longer be subjected to the "strong presumption of denial" of the MTCR".

The White House, meanwhile, claimed in a Friday statement that the pact is outdated and gives "an unfair advantage to countries outside of the MTCR and hurt United States industry". Officials said the administration still views the MTCR as an "important nonproliferation tool to curb the spread of high-end missile technologies to countries such as North Korea and Iran". Now U.S. firms can sell drones to foreign governments which were earlier blocked from buying them.

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They argue that American companies must be able to sell the large drones to compete with China, which is not a member of the arms control agreement.

"Trump is unilaterally abrogating a long-standing arms control agreement because it is inconvenient for his anything goes' policy to sell risky weapons seemingly anywhere to anyone", alleged Congressman Eliot Engel, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. In the past, he was reportedly trying to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia over human right violations.

Advocates for the policy change have cited China's growing dominance of the global drone market, which benefits from a lack of competition with United States products.

"Not only do these outdated standards give an unfair advantage to countries outside of the MTCR and hurt United States industry, they also hinder our deterrence capability overseas by handicapping our partners and allies with subpar technology", the White House said, stressing the need to expand the USA drone market and "increase economic security". Jim Risch, Idaho Republican and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.



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