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Arms exports remain stable around the world

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(Stockholm) The international arms trade has stabilized over the past five years, a first since the turn of the century which can be explained in particular by the fact that several importing countries have embarked on production, according to a report by the SIPRI institute published Monday.

Globally, arms exports remained stable in volume over the period 2016-2020 compared to the period 2011-2015, reports the Stockholm-based International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

While exports remain at their highest level since the end of the Cold War, this is the first time since the 2001-2005 period that they have not increased.

Over the past five years, three of the world’s five largest exporters – the United States, France and Germany – have increased their exports, but these increases have been offset by declines in two major exporters, Russia and China.

Export remains dominated by the United States, which arrogates to itself 37% of the market share (+5 points compared to the period 2011-2015), ahead of Russia, which falls from 26 to 20%, mainly due to ‘a drop in exports to India.

Over the past five years, the French arms market, third in the ranking of exporting countries, has represented 8.2% of total exports in the world. France’s arms exports jumped 44% in 2016-2020.

On the import side, the Middle East recorded a marked increase: + 25% over the period and Saudi Arabia became the world’s largest importer of arms, ahead of India, with 11% of global arms imports received. .

In India, once the world’s largest arms importer, imports fell by 33%, “mainly due to the complexity of its procurement processes, combined with an attempt to reduce its dependence on Russian weapons. », Indicate the authors of the report.

However, according to Siemon Wezeman, a researcher at SIPRI, a decrease in arms imports into a country does not always mean a decrease in interest in the sector.

In some cases, it is a simple matter of budget cuts, or a cyclical effect linked to the recent renovation of a national military arsenal, which will not need to be touched for a few years, notes he does.

Local arms production, a trend observed in recent years in several importing countries, also explains this drop in trade in the sector.

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