During his recent visit to Japan, Mr Dunne, the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, met with his opposite number in the Japanese Ministry of Defence, Parliamentary Vice-Minister Akira Sato. The 2 countries have signed a Letter of Arrangement for the first collaborative project to be undertaken under the Defence Equipment Cooperation Framework.
While small in scale, our work with the TRDI is the first step of what will become a strong relationship between our defence and security industries and a flourishing partnership between the UK and Japan.
The Defence Equipment Cooperation Framework, signed by the Foreign Secretary in July, is the first agreement of its kind Japan has entered into since changes to its Guidelines on the Overseas Transfer of Defence Equipment. It opens up a number of opportunities for the 2 countries’ governments and defence industries to work together.
As well as meeting with ministers for foreign affairs and for economy, trade and industry, Mr Dunne gave a speech to the Keidanren Japanese industry group, setting out a direction of greater cooperation on defence equipment between the UK and Japan.
Mr Dunne discussed the productive 18 months of defence trade between the UK and Korea; most recently AgustaWestland’s AW159 helicopter – designated the Lynx Wildcat in the UK Armed Forces – was selected to meet Korea’s maritime operational helicopter requirement. This contract will help sustain several hundred jobs at AgustaWestland and in the UK supply chain.
Mr Dunne and Minister Lee Young-geol discussed a variety of future opportunities for British and Korean industry to cooperate with each other, ranging from small-scale research and development programmes through to larger platform opportunities.
Mr Dunne also met with Park Dong-hyuk, Vice President of Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME), who confirmed that the UK’s new Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability tankers, being constructed by the Korean firm in Okpo in collaboration with British designers BMT, were on schedule. This project has also achieved export success, with a confirmed order from Norway and interest from a number of other nations, which will benefit both DSME and BMT.
Mr Dunne said:
This was a very timely, valuable and interesting trip. Responsible defence exports and international collaborations are an excellent way of boosting cooperation between our respective Armed Forces, increasing cross-border investment and creating jobs.
I believe our new agreement with Japan and fruitful relationship with [the Republic of] Korea will not only be good for economic growth, but will also help facilitate our countries’ goals for security and peace across the world.