APEC Treaty to boost ICT information sharing with US

Technology transfers the main beneficiary

The signing of the Australia-US Treaty on Defense Trade Cooperation during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders week in Sydney will boost ICT information sharing.

The improved access for Australian industry to sensitive US technology and the removal of bureaucratic barriers will simplify the process for sharing equipment, information, spare parts, services and technical data, according to a Department of Defence statement.

This is a significant boost to Australian industry. For example, last year 2361 export licences and 312 technical data agreements were approved for Australia.

At a conservative estimate at least half of these approvals, which can take 90 days or more, will no longer be required under the Treaty, the statement said.

This will save hundreds of person-years of processing time and, through certainty, reduce delays to project schedules by months each year.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) and US armed forces will benefit from increased cooperation in technology application in areas such as counterterrorism and information sharing.

One of the significant benefits expected for industry will be certainty with regard to workforce planning as well as the transfer of technology.

The new arrangement means that once equipment has been received it will be transferable between companies who are part of Australia's approved community without the need for further US Government approvals.