Global arms industry targets growth market in Rio

According to the latest figures of peace research institute SIPRI the world’s military spending continued its upward trend in 2010 with an increase of 1.3 per cent in real terms to a staggering $1630 billion. Not only is the amount completely beyond imagination, it goes against the European trends of falling military budgets.
On the other side of the Atlantic spending is still going up. The increase is almost entirely down to the United States, which accounted for $19.6 billion of the $20.6 billion global increase. It “has increased its military spending by 81 per cent since 2001, and now accounts for 43 per cent of the global total, six times its nearest rival China”, according to SIPRI researcher Sam Perlo-Freeman.

Remarkably, not the Middle East but South America currently is the main growth market, with a 5.8 per cent increase, reaching a total of $63.3 billion.

This week the international arms industry is meeting up in Rio de Janeiro for LAAD 2011, by far the largest arms fair in the region. Brazil is one of the world’s main emerging military markets and is about to select a supplier for – an initial – 36 fighter aircraft. Also, Brazil aims to expand its own military industry, for which it will need foreign ‘assistance’ – arms sales including transfers of technology.
The world’s ten largest arms producers (all American and European) are present in Rio, as are rivalling companies from China, Russia and Israel. Cluster munition makers Israel Military Industries, Pakistan Ordnance Factories, South Korean Hanwha and U.S. L-3 Communications exhibit, as do many companies producing small arms, such as Beretta, Ceská Zbrojovka, FN Herstal, Heckler & Koch and SIG-SAUER.
Dutch companies present at the show are Damen Shipyards, DSM Dyneema and TNO Defence, Safety and Security. EADS is registered as a Dutch ‘NV’ because of the Netherlands’ foreign corporatefriendly tax system for foreign business. Thales Nederland is likely hiding under its French parent company’s wings.
Most Dutch arms exports to South America of the past fifteen years have been to Chile (480 million euro) and Venezuela (320 million).
[FS, 12 April 2011]