France Replaces China As The Third Largest Arms Exporter

French President Emmanuel Macron (L) is greeted by Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan during his tour of the French pavillion at the Dubai Expo on the first day of his Gulf tour on December 3, 2021. - The UAE signed among other deals today a record, 14-billion-euro contract for 80 French-made Rafale warplanes and committed billions of euros in other agremments as Macron kicked off a Gulf tour that will also take him to Qatar and Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP)

France increased its sales by 59% in the past 10 years, more than any other country.

France “substantially” increased its exports of arms in the 2017-2021 period and is now the third biggest exporter of weaponry in the world, a report published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) shows. 

In this four-year period, arms exports by France made up 11% of total global arms exports, up from 6% in the previous four-year period (2012-2016), meaning it overtakes China as the third biggest exporter. 

Overall, France has increased its arms exports by 59% in the past 10 years, the most of any country in this time period. 

It remains behind the US and Russia as the biggest exporters, who in the 2017-2021 period supplied 39% and 19% of the global arms exports respectively. 

China is now the fourth-biggest exporter of arms, and Germany is fifth.  

France’s high exports are mainly due to sales of Dassault Rafale fighter jets, which it has mainly supplied to Egypt, Qatar and India. These three countries made up 56% of France’s total arms exports between 2017 and 2021. 

The report, published on March 14, does not include France’s more recent deals to sell its Rafale jets to the United Arab Emirates, confirmed in December 2021, and Indonesia, confirmed in February this year. 

A recent article by the investigative news site Disclose revealed that France continued to issue export licences to Russia after the EU imposed an arms embargo on the country in 2014. 

France’s armed forces ministry stated after that it “allowed the termination of certain contracts concluded before 2014”, Euractiv reported. This was permitted under the terms of the embargo. 

In terms of imports, France is not one of Europe’s major buyers. 

The continent’s major importers are the UK, Norway and the Netherlands. 

The report states however:

“Other European states are also expected to increase their arms imports significantly over the coming decade, having recently placed large orders for major arms, in particular combat aircraft from the US. 

“Despite armed conflict in eastern Ukraine throughout 2017–21, the country’s imports of major arms in the period were very limited.”

Overall, there was a drop of 4.6% in international transfers of arms in the four-year period of 2017-2021 compared to the previous four-year period. 

© 2022, GDC. © GDC and Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.