Export of weapons a booming global industry

US foreign arms deals up by nearly $13 billion December 27, 2015 Nicholas Fandos The United States controls just over 50 per cent of the world’s weapons markets, Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/world/us-foreign-arms-deals-up-by-nearly-13-billion-20151226-glv3sx.html#ixzz3vU4qe9zF   Nicholas Fandos, 27 Dedc 15 . Washington: Foreign arms sales by the United States jumped by almost $US10 billion ($13 billion) in 2014, about 35 per cent, even as the global weapons market remained flat and competition among suppliers increased, a new congressional study has found.

American weapons receipts rose to $US36.2 billion in 2014 from $US26.7 billion the year before, bolstered by multibillion-dollar agreements with Qatar, Saudi Arabia and South Korea. Those deals and others ensured that the United States remained the single largest provider of arms around the world last year, controlling just over 50 per cent of the market.

Russia followed the US as the top weapons supplier, completing $US10.2 billion in sales, compared with $US10.3 billion in 2013. Sweden was third, with roughly $US5.5 billion in sales, followed by France with $US4.4 billion and China with $US2.2 billion.

South Korea, a key US ally, was the world’s top weapons buyer in 2014, completing $US7.8 billion in contracts. It has faced continued tensions with neighbouring North Korea in recent years over the North’s nuclear weapons program and other provocations. The bulk of South Korea’s purchases were made with the United States, worth more than $US7 billion, and included transport helicopters and related support, as well as advanced unmanned aerial surveillance vehicles.

 Iraq followed South Korea, with $US7.3 billion in purchases intended to build up its military in the wake of the US troop withdrawal there.

Brazil, another developing nation building its military force, was third with $US6.5 billion worth of purchase agreements, primarily for Swedish aircraft.

The report to Congress found that total global arms sales rose slightly in 2014 to $US71.8 billion, from $US70.1 billion in 2013. Despite that increase, the report concluded that “the international arms market is not likely growing over all” because of “the weakened state of the global economy”.

It was the second successive year that global sales remained steady, suggesting that the market has begun to level off after several years of extreme fluctuation.

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