US President Donald Trump will roll out a new weapons sales policy which will make it easier for America’s allies to buy weapons from the country’s biggest arms manufacturers, a new report says.
The administration is expected to provide a set of guidelines which will “speed up the approval of arms exports” to certain allies, Reuters has reported. Those allies are thought to include NATO member states, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, as well as Japan and South Korea.
The initiative will also call for members of Trump’s White House cabinet to act as “closers” to seal major arms deals, sources said. Top government officials will also be sent to promote American weapons at international air shows and arms expos.
The plan is expected to loosen export rules on a range of military equipment, including warships, fighter jets, drones and artillery. The ‘Buy American’ initiative is part of Trump’s personal effort to make the US even more dominant in the global sale of weapons — an area where the US is already one of the most dominant players.
White House sources told Reuters that the main goal of the new policy will be to help American companies compete more effectively against Russian and Chinese manufacturers, as well as to create more jobs in weapons manufacturing domestically.
One source told Reuters that the initiative will ease restrictions that are currently in place, which have led to vetoes on certain arms deals due to human rights concerns. Responding to concerns over human rights implications, a Trump administration official said the White House recognizes that arms transfers “may have important human rights consequences” but that “nothing in this policy changes existing legal or regulatory requirements in this regard.”
The administration is expecting the new policies to result in billions of dollars in new arms sales abroad. The initiative will please defense contractors like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Boeing and Northrop Grumman — all of whose shares have surged significantly since Trump took office last year.
Trump has already approved some deals that former president Barack Obama had blocked, including a $ 7 billion sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia, despite protests from human rights groups’ who warn that the American weapons are being used to kill civilians in the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, which has resulted in a massive humanitarian crisis.