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Government eases restraints on arms industry

(Washington-AP) -- In a victory for U-S weapons manufacturers, the government is easing restrictions on their sales overseas.

The Pentagon and the State Department have announced jointly that the new rules will apply to deals with the NATO allies, Japan
and Australia.

In some instances, a single license will cover an entire weapons program involving several subcontractors. And the licenses will be valid for eight years, not the current four.

Officials at the State Department say American companies will be able to compete more effectively with European firms and are
enthusiastic about the changes.

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