Australia and US defence relationship unparalleled: AmCham

Since the release of the 2016 Defence White Paper, the federal government has put the hard word on international primes hoping to win Australian defence contracts to maximise Australian industry content (AIC) and incorporate local companies into their supply chains. Over a year later, one expert says the effort and intent is paying off in spades.

Niels Marquardt, chief executive of AmCham in Australia, told Defence Connect there are strong signals of enhanced involvement of the Australian defence industry overseas, with one only needing to look at this year's Avalon Airshow.

"One of the things that strikes one at a place like Avalon when I was last there, was just the incredible efforts that the major primes are putting into bringing Australians into their supply chains and making sure that so-and-so's got a widget that would work really well in one of their systems, gets included and not overlooked," said Marquardt.

"I mean there's both a business and a political imperative to involve Australians in that supply chain."

Marquardt said the relationship between Australia and the US is not only unparalleled, but one built on trust and common values that he said does not exist with other countries.

"Defence and security, we [Australia and the US] are incredible partners," Marquardt said.

"I mean I've, as a diplomat, I served in NATO countries, France and Germany, I've served in other treaty allies, like I spent five years in Thailand.

"There's really nothing like what we have between the US and Australia; it's unparalleled. We have Australian generals who are in the chain of command in the Pacific. The deputy commander of the army in Hawaii is an Australian. We don't do that with anybody else. So we have this relationship that is one of, you mentioned, trust, it's really based on trust and shared values. So it leads us to do things naturally with and in Australia that we wouldn't do anywhere else."

And as Australia gears up its Defence acquisition projects, Marquardt said the presence of American primes in Australia is only going to grow and benefits will be given to both countries.

"Boeing, which has its biggest overseas footprint in Australia, bigger than anywhere else except the United States," explained Marquardt.

"So that's a real, I think a real indication of how a company like that appreciates the quality of the Australian worker, the technology, the quality of the STEM graduates from Australian universities. So they're [Boeing] obviously relying on Australia to contribute to their global supply chain in a huge way. And that's just one example."

To hear more from AmCham in Australia's CEO, tune into our podcast here.

Australia and US defence relationship unparalleled: AmCham
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