NATO's Rasmussen calls for open defense markets

September 12, 2011 18:16

LONDON - The United States and European countries should do more to open up their defense markets to competition at a time of tight budgets, the head of NATO said on Monday.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen also said he planned to appoint a special envoy to help ensure that countries were getting value for money for defense spending.

"We need equal opportunities for European Union and American defence companies to compete across the Atlantic," Rasmussen told an industry conference in London. He noted that 90 percent of the Pentagon's procurement budget went to US companies, while Europe often favored its own contractors.

Rasmussen welcomed moves by US President Barack Obama to reform export licensing programs which should allow US companies to play a greater role in Europe. NATO's 28 allies needed to prioritise spending, improve coordination and adopt a multinational approach, he said.

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