Australia aims to become 'top 10' defence exporter

Australia aims to become 'top 10' defence exporter

Australia aims to become 'top 10' defence exporter

Australia now exports A$1.5-2.5 billion worth of defense equipment a year.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will unveil in Sydney today a defence exports strategy to open up new markets and build a globally competitive defence industry.

The plan identifies the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand as the highest priority export markets - due to Australia's close relationship with these countries.

Australia now is ranked 20th in arms exports with a 0.3 percent share of the global market, according to a widely-cited 2017 report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Trade Minister Steve Ciobo said his government was not concerned that exported arms could be turned against Australia.

Chris Jenkins, CEO of Thales Australia, which makes the Bushmaster, attended Mr Turnbull's press conference on Monday and thanked the prime minister for his "unprecedented support".

The aim of boosting Australia into the top 10 defense exporters was "very realistic", Pyne said. "We do not see Russian Federation or China as posing a military threat to Australia", Bishop told Sky News television commenting on the new US National Defense Strategy unveiled by Pentagon Chief James Mattis recently, according to which Russian Federation and China are undermining the existing world order threatening the United States.

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The local opposition has also questioned the move, with infrastructure spokesman Anthony Albanese querying in The Guardian why the government was happy to back advanced defence manufacturing after it withdrew support for the vehicle industry.

He said defence industry was "important" but accused the Turnbull Government for neglecting other kinds of advanced manufacturing in the automotive and renewable energy industries.

Mr Turnbull said the strategy was ensuring maximum opportunity for Australian jobs, technology and innovation.

However, Mr Turnbull said nations could not forgo defence spending because the "price of liberty is eternal vigilance".

The government will spend $20 million a year to support the strategy: helping to identify export opportunities, making sure products are export-ready, and opening doors for Australian industry overseas.

"What we are looking for are countries where we have got a strong human rights track record and, of course, have safeguards in place", he told the Nine Network.

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