US leads in weapons sale globally

Washington, Dec 27 (IANS) The US sold weapons worth $40 billion in 2015, again making it the world’s dominant supplier of weapons globally, according to a new congressional study.

The US market share of weapons sales amounted to about half of all arms agreements in 2015, and more than double the orders recorded by France, its nearest rival with $15 billion in sales. The US and France both grew their market shares, by around $4 billion and $9 billion, respectively.

Russia, another dominant power in the global arms market, saw a modest decline in weapons order, dropping to $11.1 billion in sales from the $11.2 billion total in 2014, the New York Times reported on Monday.

China reached $6 billion in weapons sales, up from its 2014 total of over $3 billion.

The 2015 study, titled ‘Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations’, 2008-2015, said that developing nations continued to be the largest buyers of arms.

Qatar signed deals for more than $17 billion in weapons last year, followed by Egypt, which agreed to buy almost $12 billion in arms, and Saudi Arabia, with over $8 billion in weapons purchases.

Other leading buyers included South Korea, Pakistan, Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Iraq.

Although global tensions and terrorist threats have shown few signs of diminishing, the total size of the global arms trade dropped to around $80 billion in 2015 from the 2014 total of $89 billion, the study found.

The latest figures were released by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, a division of the Library of Congress, and delivered to legislators last week.

Developing nations bought $65 billion worth weapons in 2015, substantially lower than the previous year’s total of $79 billion.

Not only did the US rank first in new arms orders, it also ranked first in the value of all arms deliveries worldwide at $17 billion, or nearly 37 per cent of all shipments. This is the eighth year in a row that the US has led in global arms deliveries.

The US arms exports in 2016 looks set to remain broadly in line with the previous year’s sales.

–IANS

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