The United States is Still #1 in Arms Sales
by Tamar Gabelnick
For years, U.S. arms manufacturers have complained that excessively burdensome U.S. export controls and a lengthy licensing process damage their competitiveness on the global arms market. But a recent report by the Congressional Research Service shows that U.S. weapons makers are doing just fine.
According to the report, "Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations 1994-2001," released on August 8th, the United States has had the largest share of both new contracts and deliveries to the world for at least 8 years in a row. In calendar year 2001, U.S. arms manufacturers made new agreements worth $12.1 billion and delivered $9.7 billion worth of arms, capturing 45% of both markets.
The United States' closest competitor, Russia, came in a distant second with $5.8 billion in new contracts and $3.6 billion in arms deliveries. But Russia is not a real rival for U.S. arms makers. Its main clients are China and Iran, off limits to U.S. firms, and former Soviet bloc states in Asia and Africa that cannot afford expensive U.S. weapons systems. India, on the other hand, may be one place where Russian and American firms go to battle over a large market. In September 2001, the U.S. government dropped a ban on arms sales to both India and Pakistan, permitting transfers even during the height of the crisis between these nuclear-armed states. India is a longtime major Russian client.