USA! We’re Number One! In Arms Sales
The United States is responsible for two-thirds of all 2008 weapons sales. The New York Times reports that the United States signed weapons agreements worth $37.8 billion in 2008, representing 68.4 percent of all global arms business. Th.at figure is a marked increase from the previous year where sales was $25.4 billion.
The increase in American weapons sales around the world “was attributable not only to major new orders from clients in the Near East and in Asia, but also to the continuation of significant equipment and support services contracts with a broad-based number of U.S. clients globally,” according to the study, titled “Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations.”
The annual report was produced by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, a division of the Library of Congress. Regarded as the most detailed collection of unclassified global arms sales data available to the general public, it was delivered to the House and Senate on Friday, ready for members’ return from the Labor Day recess.
It’s notable that the sharp increase in arms sales by the US occurred during a worldwide recession where arms sales globally are significantly down. Also noteworthy is that a huge portion of sales is to developing countries.
The United States was the leader not only in arms sales worldwide, but also in sales to nations in the developing world, signing $29.6 billion in weapons agreements with these nations, or 70.1 percent of all such deals.
The study found that the larger arms deals concluded by the United States with developing nations last year included a $6.5 billion air defense system for the United Arab Emirates, a $2.1 billion jet fighter deal with Morocco and a $2 billion attack helicopter agreement with Taiwan. Other large weapons agreements were reached between the United States and India, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, South Korea and Brazil.
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