A report to the United States Congress, released this week reported that total global sales rose slightly in 2014 to $71.8 billion, from $70.1 billion in 2013. Despite that increase, “the international market is not likely growing over all,” because of “the weakened state of the global economy.”
The lack of market expansion has led to greater competition among suppliers. Some producers have adopted measures like flexible financing, counter-trade guarantees and coproduction and co-assembly agreements to try to secure sales, according to the report.
“A number of exporting nations are focusing not only on the clients with which they have held historic competitive advantages due to well-established relationships, but also on potential new clients in countries and regions where they have not been traditional suppliers,”
Despite the competition, the report concluded that, given its positioning, the United States was likely to remain the dominant supplier to developing nations in coming years.
What’s the product, you probably want to know. Well, it’s not iPhones, or any other Apple product, for that matter. The report is talking about the ‘global weapons market’. Congressional representatives of the American people were encouraged to hear that the United States retained its position as Number One exporter of military hardware in 2014. Sales of $36.2 billion were more than three-times greater than second-place Russia, and were, in fact, more than those of all other weapons-exporting countries combined.
Biggest customers were Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and South Korea. How much of that materiel will get into the hands of rebel forces in Syria we can only guess, but I have my suspicions.
It’s encouraging to see that US weapons manufacturers are able to assist countries with struggling economies to maintain high levels of consumption by offering ‘flexible financing’ and other incentives. That must be especially comforting to Brazilians, who were the US arms industry’s third-best customer in 2014, despite the fact that their shrinking economy is in crisis.
For sheer jaw-dropping hypocrisy, it would be hard to beat, don’t you think?
Read the whole article in the New York Times: U.S. Foreign Arms Deals Increased Nearly $10 Billion in 2014