Trends in International Arms Transfers in 2017 - Volume Increased


Research by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) shows that the volume of major weapons changing hands internationally grew with 10% for the period 2013-17, continuing an upward trend that started in the early 2000s.

(Important to note is that SIPRI presents data in 5y periods. For this report they compare 2008-12 with 2013-17.)

The chart below shows the largest Exporters, and their best customers.

It comes as no surprise that the US still is the biggest exporter, accounting for over a third of total arms exports, and that their main clients are the Saudis. An impressive feat however is that they exported 25% more than in the foregoing period. Russia, France, Germany, and China are the other top exporters.

Note also that China’s exports have grown in volume with 38% with respect to the previous period, and that France has overtaken Germany in terms of exporting arms. It’s also interesting to see that Russia has a good client in India, and China sells most to Pakistan.

SIPRI then show the data by Importers, along with their main suppliers:

India remains the biggest importer, by procuring 24% more in volume in 2013-17. Again, China is salient, having imported almost 20% less than in the previous 5y period. This, along with their rise as an exporter, implies (confirms!) they have become much more self-sufficient.

Here, it is quite interesting to look at the data from a regional level; Asia and Oceania accounted for 42% of the imports in the period 2013-17, but the Middle East almost doubled their share (from 18 to 32%) for an increase in volume of 103%.

This is in stark contrast with the American continent, Africa, and Europe, where imports all fell well over 20% in the last 5 year period.

Please find the news release here and the actual report here.


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