U.S. Becomes World Leader in Arms Exports America's $59 Billion in Sales from '87 to '91 Drops Former Soviet Union into Second Place

Article excerpt

The United States doubled its share of world arms exports between 1981 and 1991 - from 19.3 percent to 37.8 percent - and swept past the Soviet Union into first place, the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency reported Wednesday.

The United States exported $59 billion in arms from 1987 through 1991, with $35 billion of the sales, or 60 percent, to developing nations. In that period, Saudi Arabia purchased $5.1 billion in arms, Israel purchased $5 billion and Taiwan bought $3 billion.

Actually, U.S. arms exports declined almost 34 percent between 1989 and 1991, while world arms sales were dropping 53 percent. The result, the arms control agency said, was that the U.S. share doubled while the Soviet Union's share declined from 43 percent in 1986 to 26 percent in 1991.

The largest recipients of arms from the Soviet Union, which broke up in December 1991, were Afghanistan, India and Iraq.

The Middle East consistently is the largest purchaser of weapons, although imports declined from $31 billion in 1984 to $11 billion in 1991. But Middle Eastern countries contracted to buy $17 billion in arms in 1991, an increase of $4 billion from 1989. …


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