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11:45 AM, January 29, 2018
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Australia Targets Becoming World's Top 10 Defence Exporters
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull with a Bushmaster, one of Australia's export success stories. Photo: AAP

Australia’s government announced on Monday that it will reportedly unveil an ambitious plan to become one of the world's 10 largest arms exporters.

As part of the plan, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will announce a $3.8 billion fund for Australian arms companies looking to increase exports.

“It will give Australian defence companies the support they need to grow, invest and deliver defence capability,” Turnbull told The Australian.

Turnbull said that with AU$200 billion budgeted to increase Australian defense capabilities in the next decade; Australia should rank higher than 20th among arms-exporting countries. The planned Australian military build-up was the largest in its peace-time history, he was quoted as saying by AP.

The government believes the strategy will create new jobs and bolster Australia's troubled defence manufacturing industry, which struggles to sustain itself based on Australian Defence Force needs alone.

According to the plan, the Australian government is looking to grow sales in the United States, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, as well as, European friends and allies, including Japan and South Korea.

The government will also seek to use the exports to cement relationships with key countries in volatile regions like the Middle East, Sydney Morning Herald reports. Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne has previously nominated Australia's relationship with the United Arab Emirates as one that could benefit from deeper, export-led economic ties.

The push to increase Australian defense manufacturing jobs came after General Motors Co. in October became the last automaker to quit building Australian cars.

Most of the new Australian defense spending is on submarines and frigates that will be largely built in Australia.

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