Thursday, May 10, 2018

Selling Death

 The arms trade is a thriving global industry worth about $100bn (£74bn) per year.  Major weapons sales in the five years to 2017 were 10% higher than in 2008-12.

The United States is the world's number one arms exporter. The US now accounts for 34% of all global arms sales, up from 30% five years ago, and are now at their highest level since the late 1990s.

The US's arms exports are 58% higher than those of Russia, the world's second-largest exporter. And while US arms exports grew by 25% in 2013-17 compared with 2008-12, Russia's exports fell by 7.1% over the same period.

It is Middle East states that have been among the US's biggest customers - Saudi Arabia tops the list - with the region as a whole accounting for almost half of US arms exports during 2013-17. Arms imports to the region have doubled over the past 10 years.

"There is a clear risk that arms sales contribute to human rights violations," says Oliver Feeley-Sprague, arms trade expert at Amnesty International.
China is now the world's fifth largest seller of arms. This puts it behind the US, Russia, France, and Germany, but ahead of the UK. China's arms exports rose by 38% between 2008-12 and 2013-17, and the country now has the world's second-largest defence budget after the US - $150bn compared to the latter's $602bn in 2017.  It has built more warships than Japan, South Korea and India combined - the total tonnage of new warships and auxiliaries launched in the last four years is greater than that of the French navy. Other countries across, such as Japan and India have responded by spending more on naval power. It sold weapons to 48 countries during 2013-17, with Pakistan being its top customer

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