France Intends to Decrease Dependence on U.S. Manufactured Weapons Parts

Florence Parly

French Defense Minister Florence Parly says France must become less reliant on parts that come from the United States to manufacture its weapons. The defense minister says this action is needed to reduce the ability of Washington to block arms exports for France.

Export control laws in the United States gives the country the right to block exports for any country in Europe if even a small amount of the weapon's components are supplied by companies in the U.S. The laws have been in place for some time but are more of a concern now that current U.S. President Donald Trump appears ready to halt previously allowed exports.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration blocked France from selling Scalp Cruise Missiles to Egypt. The missile contained a single part that was manufactured in the United States.

Minister Parly did not give specific details but suggested a plan to gradually decrease her country's dependence on a considerable number of American-made parts.

A Parliament Defense Committee questioned Ms. Parly on the Scalp issue in July. The defense minister advised the committee that the present operating procedures place France at the mercy of the Americans on the issue.

Ms. Parly also told the committee that the action Washington has taken in regards to the Scalp missile highlights the need for France to apply certain measures before moving forward with the SCAF project. This project is also known as the 'Future Combat Air System' and is considered to be the next generation of combat air jets in Europe. The SCAF project is being led by France and Germany.

Ms. Farly points to her country's experience with the Reaper drone that France uses to fight terrorists to hammer home her point. The drones are built by the American firm General Atomics. The defense minister explains that France has to obtain the approval of the United States Congress to arm the Reaper drone for defense purposes. This is unacceptable in the opinion of the defense minister.

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