Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 1997-2004


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Congressional Research Service Report

August 29, 2005

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 1997-2004, the value of arms transfer agreements with developing nations comprised 62.7% of all such agreements worldwide. More recently, arms transfer agreements with developing nations constituted 57.3% of all such agreements globally from 2001-2004, and 58.9% of these agreements in 2004.

The value of all arms transfer agreements with developing nations in 2004 was nearly $21.8 billion. This was a substantial increase over 2003, and the highest total, in real terms, since 2000. In 2004, the value of all arms deliveries to developing nations was nearly $22.5 billion, the highest total in these deliveries values since 2000 (in constant 2004 dollars).

Recently, from 2001-2004, 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 2001-2004, the United States made $29.8 billion in arms transfer agreements with developing nations, in constant 2004 dollars, 39.9% of all such agreements. Russia, the second leading supplier during this period, made $21.7 billion in arms transfer agreements, or 29.1%.

In 2004, the United States ranked first in arms transfer agreements with developing nations with nearly $6.9 billion or 31.6% of these agreements. Russia was second with $5.9 billion or 27.1% of such agreements. In 2004, the United States ranked first in the value of arms deliveries to developing nations at nearly $9.6 billion, or 42.6% of all such deliveries. Russia ranked second at $4.5 billion or 20% of such deliveries. France ranked third at $4.2 billion or 18.7% of such deliveries.

During the 2001-2004 period, China ranked first among developing nations purchasers in the value of arms transfer agreements, concluding $10.4 billion in such agreements. India ranked second at $7.9 billion. Egypt ranked third at $6.5 billion. In 2004, India ranked first in the value of arms transfer agreements among all developing nations weapons purchasers, concluding $5.7 billion in such agreements. Saudi Arabia ranked second with $2.9 billion in such agreements. China ranked third with $2.2 billion.
 

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