Today the U.S./U.K. Defence Trade Cooperation treaty comes into effect. In a ceremony presided by Rose Gottemoeller, the acting U.S. Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, our two countries finalized an agreement originally signed five years ago to strengthen our mutual security and build our shared prosperity.
British and American manufacturers play a central role in our security relationship. U.S. contractors contribute to the backbone of the UK's military strength, including support for UK Chinook helicopters in Afghanistan. U.K. capabilities like Storm Shadow cruise and Brimstone anti-tank missiles, which have proved themselves in action in Libya and Afghanistan, could be a part of the next generation of both British and American military technology.
The new treaty ensures that Britain and America can share our world-class defence capabilities more efficiently and more effectively. It speeds delivery of equipment to the front line, reduces hurdles for exporting technologies destined for U.S. or U.K. government use and simplifies the process for U.K. firms to bid for U.S. defence contracts.
The process that brought the treaty into force reflects the importance of military and trade to the U.S./U.K. relationship. It was originally negotiated by President Bush and Prime Minister Blair and then taken through the ratification process by their successors, by the U.S. Congress and by the British Parliament. Senator John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, and Senator Richard Lugar, an Indiana Republican, ensured that the necessary provisions were able to pass through Congress. Leaders in the U.S. and U.K. of all political allegiances came together to ensure that our armed forces can continue to stand shoulder to shoulder around the world.
From the beaches of Normandy to the skies over Libya and the mountains of Helmand, the courage and shared values of our men and women in uniform have spanned generations and forced unbreakable bonds. Today we are putting in place new arrangements to ensure that they have access to the equipment they both deserve and need to continue to make the world a safer place.