Brexit is not to blame for the intelligence community’s decision to delay a potential $700 million contract for a new factory in the United Kingdom.
Brigadier Chris Carr, the head of the UK’s defense export and commercial legal arm, said a Monday meeting of key defense export buyers was attended by a majority of people who didn’t want to move to Brexit. “It was determined that it could not be a likely outcome.” Carr added, “it was a majority who wanted to continue… The others just did not want to see it happen and gave their opinion.”
Senior defence figures have reportedly been trying to finalize the deal, but the project was dropped after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was concerned about Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Carr confirmed his agency had finished discussions with British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson, but said he wasn’t aware of any formal offer by the United States.
Carr declined to elaborate on the level of support from top figures in the Trump administration.
He said, “I can’t get into details of discussions with the American administration and the nature of them and the contribution they’ve made.”
Carr said the decision to delay the decision made it unlikely that the project would be finished in time for the 2021 deadline.
Britain is hoping to become a world leader in aerospace and defense technology and is competing with China, the United States and other nations for foreign arms contracts.
However, contracts from other nations had run into difficulties in Europe over the years because of wrangling between national governments and military negotiators.
In July, Britain’s biggest arms company, BAE Systems, agreed to shift a $36 million contract to help the United Arab Emirates develop an aircraft in line with European nuclear weapons into Britain, using EU funds.
Just a month later, German lawmakers blocked a $5 billion deal for a missile by a U.S. firm, citing a lack of legal certainty over Brexit.
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