D&S 2017: UK foresees growth in Asia-Pacific
The Defence and Security Organisation (DSO), under the UK’s Department for International Trade, promoted broader opportunities in defence sales and technology transfers at the Defence & Security 2017 expo, held in Bangkok from 6-9 November.
DSO views big opportunities in the region for the Starstreak air defence system, Airbus A400M cargo/transport aircraft, Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) and Rolls-Royce MT30 (Marine Turbine) engine, said Alexis Hammer, DSO’s director of the Americas & Asia-Pacific.
London’s strategy in the Asia-Pacific region is to improve and expand technology transfer and expertise when possible.
Governments in the region are requiring more than just offsets and these include maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) agreements, and life support and training.
Growth in the Asia-Pacific region has been significant, with Australia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand as prime examples, Hammer said. ‘We are focusing now on the Philippines and Vietnam as potential markets.’
Nevertheless, in its dealings with governments across the region, the UK follows a strict set of export controls.
‘We are quite selective on who we sell to and have stringent export control regimes,' Hammer said.
The DSO has permanent representatives in local embassies in the region, who keep close contact with the leadership and monitor problem areas closely, he said.
This includes factoring in conflicts of interest regarding Southeast Asian countries with crossover claims in the South China Sea, although this has not been a problem to date, he said.
The South China Sea has influenced the sale of systems for air defence and maritime security for strengthening national sovereignty.