Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The Arms Trade Is Big Business

The third world imports most of the arms exported from the first world

Each year, around $45-60 billion worth of arms sales are agreed. Most of these sales (something like 75%) are to developing countries.
The 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council (US, Russia, France, United Kingdom and China), together with Germany and Italy account for around 85% of the arms sold between 2002 and 2009.
Some of the arms sold go to regimes where human rights violations will occur. Corruption often accompanies arms sales due to the large sums of money involved.
Every year, the U.S. Congressional Research Service releases an authoritative report looking at arms transfers to the developing world.
  • Developing nations continue to be the primary focus of foreign arms sales activity by weapons suppliers though most arms are supplied by just 2 or 3 major suppliers.
  • Despite the global economic climate, major purchases continue to be made by a select few developing nations in these regions, principally India in Asia, and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East.
  • Saudi Arabia and India’s large spending reflects their modernization efforts since the 1990s.
  • The strength of individual economies of a wide range of nations in the developing world continues to be a significant factor in the timing of many of their arms purchasing decisions.
  • Increases in the price of oil, while an advantage for major oil producing states in funding their arms purchases, has, simultaneously, caused economic difficulties for many oil consuming states, contributing to their decisions to curtail or defer new weapons acquisitions.
  • A number of less affluent developing nations have chosen to upgrade while reducing new purchases.
For arms suppliers, despite the impact the global economic situation has had recently on sales, a number of weapons-exporting nations have increased competition for sales, going into areas and regions they may not have previously been promninent. Competition between sellers will only intensify due to the limits for growth, Grimmet also notes.
Just ten developing nation recipients of arms sales accounted for 60% of the total developing nations arms market between 2003 and 2010:


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