Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 1996-2003

By Grimmett, Richard F. | DISAM Journal, Fall 2004 | Go to article overview

Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 1996-2003


Grimmett, Richard F., DISAM Journal


[The following extract provides unclassified background data from U.S. government sources on transfers of conventional arms to developing nations by major suppliers for the period 1996 through 2003. It also includes some data on world-wide supplier transactions. It updates and revises the report entitled Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 1995-2002, published by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) on September 22, 2003 (CRS Report RL32084). This extract does not necessarily include all the charts and graphs, however, those included will retain their original chart or graphic number so that the reader can cross reference to the complete document. A complete electronic copy is available at http://www.fas.org/man/crs/Rl32547.pdf.]

Summary

This report is prepared annually to provide unclassified quantitative data on conventional arms transfers to developing nations by the United States and foreign countries for the preceding eight calendar years. Some general data are provided on worldwide conventional arms transfers, but the principal focus is the level of arms transfers by major weapons suppliers to nations in the developing world.

Developing nations continue to be the primary focus of foreign arms sales activity by weapons suppliers. During the years 1996-2003, the value of arms transfer agreements with developing nations comprised 63.9 percent of all such agreements worldwide. More recently, arms transfer agreements with developing nations constituted 60.4 percent of all such agreements globally from 2000-2003, and 53.6 percent of these agreements in 2003.

The value of all arms transfer agreements with developing nations in 2003 was over $13.7 billion. This was a substantial decrease over 2002, and the lowest total, in real terms, for the entire period from 1996-2003. In 2003, the value of all arms deliveries to developing nations was nearly $17 billion, the lowest total in deliveries values for the entire period from 1996-2003 (in constant 2003 dollars).

Recently, from 2000-2003, the United States and Russia have dominated the arms market in the developing world, with the United States ranking first and Russia second each of the last four years in the value of arms transfer agreements. From 2000-2003, the United States made $35.8 billion in arms transfer agreements with developing nations, in constant 2003 dollars, 46.8 percent of all such agreements. Russia, the second leading supplier during this period, made over $21 billion in arms transfer agreements, or 27.5 percent.

In 2003, the United States ranked first in arms transfer agreements with developing nations with over $6.2 billion or 45.4 percent of these agreements. Russia was second with $3.9 billion or 23.4 percent of such agreements. In 2003, the United States ranked first in the value of arms deliveries to developing nations at $6.3 billion, or 37.1 percent of all such deliveries. The United Kingdom ranked second at $4 billion or 23.5 percent of such deliveries. Russia ranked third at $3.3 billion or 19.4 percent of such deliveries.

During the 2000-2003 period, China ranked first among developing nations purchasers in the value of arms transfer agreements, concluding $9.3 billion in such agreements. The United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) ranked second at $8.1 billion. Egypt ranked third at $6.8 billion. In 2003, Egypt ranked first in the value of arms transfer agreements among all developing nations weapons purchasers, concluding $1.8 billion in such agreements. China ranked second with $1.6 billion in such agreements. Malaysia ranked third with $1.5 billion.

Introduction

The data in the report illustrate how global patterns of conventional arms transfers have changed in the post-Cold War and post-Persian Gulf War years. Relationships between arms suppliers and recipients continue to evolve in response to changing political, military, and economic circumstances. …

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