NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Arms Sales Again On Rise

August 20, 2001

International arms sales have risen steadily in the past three years -- although they are still below the peaks reached in the years after the Persian Gulf War. That information is contained in the latest of a series of annual reports published by the Congressional Research Service, an arm of the Library of Congress.

The report, "Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 1993 to 2000," is known as one of the most authoritative resources on weapons sales available to the general public. It was authored by Richard F. Grimmett, a specialist in national defense.

Among the highlights:

  • International arms sales leaped 13 percent last year -- to nearly $36.9 billion -- with American manufacturers signing contracts for just under S18.6 billion.
  • Russia followed with $7.7 billion in sales -- then France with $4.1 billion, Germany with $1.1 billion, Britain with $600 million, China with $400 million and Italy with $100 million.
  • Developing nations remain the largest market for weapons -- a market that continues to grow.
  • The study documents a small but tangible supplier-buyer relationship between Russia and Iran -- which has raised concerns among American officials that it might compromise American technological secrets shared with Russia.

Source: Thom Shanker, "Global Arms Sales Rise Again, and the U.S. Leads the Pack," New York Times, August 20, 2001.


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