03/11/2019, 09.32
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SIPRI: Global arms trade is growing. Saudi Arabia biggest importer

United States, Russia, France, Germany and China among the main exporters the. Washington remains the world leader in sales. 52% of US weapons go to the Middle East. Riyadh has increased the arms imports by 192%. Egypt ranked third with a 206% growth. Imports of weapons to Syria are decreasing by 87%.

 Beirut (AsiaNews) - The volume of international trade in heavy weapons in the five-year period 2014-18 surpassed that of the period between 2009 and 2013 by 7.8% and the period 2004-2008 by 23%, according to the latest data published today by Sipri (Stockholm International Institute of Peace Research).

The study on the global arms trade ranks five main exporters: the United States, Russia, France, Germany and China. Put together, these five countries are worth about 75% of the total volume of arms exports over the last five years. Arms flows increased in the Middle East between 2009-13 and 2014-2018, while there was a decrease for all other regions of the planet.

Arms exports from the United States have increased by 29% over the last 10 years, and the overall US prerogative share has increased from 30% to 36% over the same period. At the same time, the distance between the two main exporters has become increasingly wide: the figure recorded by Washington on heavy weapons was 75% higher than in Russia between 2014 and 2018; in the period 2009-2013 the margin was "only" 12%.

The majority of weapons sold by the United States in the last five years (52%) went to one of the countries of the Middle East [probably Saudi Arabia, but the report does not mention it-ed]. The USA has further solidified its position as the world’s leading arms supplier,’ says Dr Aude Fleurant, Director of the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme. ‘The USA exported arms to at least 98 countries in the past five years; these deliveries often included advanced weapons such as combat aircraft, short-range cruise and ballistic missiles, and large numbers of guided bombs.’.

On the other hand, arms exports from Russia have decreased by 17%, in particular given the decrease in demand from India and Venezuela. France’s exports were up (+ 43% in exports) as well as Germany (+ 13%). The overall figure for arms exports to European Union (EU) countries is 27% of global trade between 2014 and 2018.

The fifth largest exporter in the world is China, which has however made a marked change of course. If, between 2004-8 and 2009-13, exports had increased by 195%, in the last five years the increase recorded is a measly 2.7% between 2009-13 and 2014-2018. Instead there has been a "substantial" increase by Israel (+ 60%), South Korea (+ 94%) and Turkey + 170%).

Imports of arms in the Middle East have increased by 87% between 2009-13 and 2014-18 and accounted for 35% of global imports in the last five years. Saudi Arabia has become the world's largest importer, with an increase of 192%. Imports of arms from Egypt, the third largest in the world, have tripled (+ 206%). Imports of arms from Israel (354%), Qatar (225%) and Iraq (139%) have also grown. Finally, arms imports from Syria decreased by 87%.

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