According to a new congressional study, while being far ahead of France, the No. 2 weapons dealer with $15 billion in sales, the United States again ranked first in global weapons sales last year, signing deals for about $40 billion, or half of all agreements in the worldwide arms bazaar.
With Qatar signing deals for more than $17 billion in weapons last year, followed by Egypt, which agreed to buy almost $12 billion in arms, and Saudi Arabia, with over $8 billion in weapons purchases, developing nations continued to be the largest buyers of arms in 2015.
The study found that the total size of the global arms trade dropped to around $80 billion in 2015 from the 2014 total of $89 billion even though global tensions and terrorist threats have shown few signs of diminishing. Substantially lower than the previous year’s total of $79 billion, developing nations bought $65 billion in weapons in 2015.
As France’s deals increased by well over $9 billion and purchases of American weapons grew by around $4 billion, the United States and France increased their overseas weapons sales in 2015.
the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, a division of the Library of Congress, prepared the report titled “Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2008-2015”, which was delivered to legislators last week.
The annual review is considered the most comprehensive assessment of global arms sales available in an unclassified form. The sales totals are comparable year to year because the report adjusts for inflation.
Catherine A. Theohary, a national security policy specialist at the Congressional Research Service and author of the study wrote that constraints on the expansion of foreign weapons sales are “due, in part, to the weakened state of the global economy.”
“Concerns over their domestic budget problems have led many purchasing nations to defer or limit the purchase of new major weapon systems,” she added. “Some nations have chosen to limit their purchasing to upgrades of existing systems and to training and support services.”
dropping to $11.1 billion in sales from the $11.2 billion total in 2014, a modest drop in orders for its weapons was noted for Russia, another dominant power in the global arms market. the study found that a focus of marketing for Russian arms had become Latin American nations, in particular Venezuela.
Up from its 2014 total of over $3 billion, China reached $6 billion in weapons sales.
According to the report, while Britain has done the same with warplanes, Germany has found success in marketing naval systems to the developing world, among arms manufacturers that also are NATO allies.
New agreements with Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Qatar and South Korea were among the most significant overseas weapons sales for the United States last year.
Qatar, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Pakistan, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq were the largest buyers of weapons in the developing world in 2015 on the over all. The study found that the major global arms suppliers were Sweden, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Britain and Israel after the United States, France, Russia and China,
(Adapted from CNBC)