Thanks Australia, here's an arms deal

President Bush gestures at a joint news conference with Australian Prime Minister John Howard on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Sydney today. They vowed to stand firm on Iraq in a strong defense of their strategy to contain violence in the war-torn country.

TEXT OF STORY

Doug Krizner: President Bush is in Australia this week for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, and he's expected to announce a big defense deal while there. Alisa Roth has more.


Alisa Roth: The new deal will let Australia will buy new top-secret American military technology. It may also give Australian companies the right to produce some of the equipment for the Australia government.

Charles Tiefer is a law professor at the University of Baltimore. He says that conceptually the deal is similar to one announced earlier this summer to sell arms to Saudi Arabia and others in the Middle East, but it will be much less of a bonanza for American defense contractors.

Charles Tiefer: Australia is not on the same scale in any way on the same order of magnitude as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Nations as far as having the wallet to spend in the American defense shopping center you might say.

Still, he says Australia's a perfectly good market for American technology and getting production licenses will help Australian defense firms make more money.

Mostly though, he says the deal is really a way to thank Australia for its help in the war in Iraq and elsewhere.

In New York, I'm Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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