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September 8, 2009

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US 'leads globe in foreign arms sales'

THE United States accounted for more than two-thirds of foreign weapons sales in 2008, a year in which global sales were at a three-year low, The New York Times reported.

Citing a congressional study released last Friday, the Times said on Sunday that the US was involved in 68.4 percent of the global sales of arms.

US weapons sales jumped nearly 50 percent in 2008 despite the global economic recession to US$37.8 billion from US$25.4 billion the year before.

The leap defied worldwide trends as global arms sales fell 7.6 percent to US$55.2 billion in 2008, the report said.

Global weapons agreements were at their lowest level since 2005.

Italy, the second ranked country, amassed only US$3.7 billion in arms sales, while Russia ranked third with sales falling to US$3.5 billion in 2008, down from US$10.8 billion in 2007.

The report attributed the increase in US sales to "major new orders from clients in the Near East and in Asia" as well as to continued contracts for equipment and support services with globally based US clients, the newspaper said.

The US also led in arms sales to the developing world, signing 70.1 percent of these weapons agreements at a value of US$29.6 billion in 2008, according to the report.

Deals with the developing world included a US$6.5 billion air defense system for the United Arab Emirates and a US$2.1 billion jet fighter for Morocco.

India, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, South Korea and Brazil also reached weapons deals with the US, the report said.

The report revealed the UAE was the top buyer of arms in the developing world.


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