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German Weapon Exports Down in 2011, but Permits Rise

Nov. 14, 2012 - 02:19PM   |  
By ALBRECHT MÜLLER   |   Comments
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BONN —The value of German weapons actually exported in 2011 fell 834 million euros ($1.1 billion) to 1.28 billion euros compared with 2010, according to a report on military equipment exports released by the German federal government in Berlin on Nov. 14.

However, the value of export licenses granted in 2011 rose by 660 million euros, or nearly 14 percent, to 5.41 billion euros. In total, 17,586 applications were approved by the government.

Military equipment can include anything from weapon systems such as main battle tanks to trucks with camouflage painting. The result could be a rising value of the exports of military equipment in the coming years as it sometimes takes a considerable time between license and delivery.

About 58 percent of the military equipment exported in 2011 was sold to EU, NATO and NATO-equivalent (Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Switzerland) countries. The 10 largest recipients were the Netherlands, U.S., United Arab Emirates, Singapore, U.K., Iraq, Italy, Algeria, South Korea and France.

The biggest categories in terms of export licenses granted in 2011 were tracked and wheeled military vehicles, valued at 1.49 billion euros; ammunition, worth 1.07 billion euros; and military aircraft at 399.9 million euros.

The political opposition criticized the increase in export permits.

“This shows that the conservative-liberal coalition obviously considers the export of military equipment as a normal instrument to form its foreign and security policy,” said the deputy chairman of the SPD parliamentary group, Gernot Erler. “Concerns about an unstable security situation or violations of human rights are pushed further into the background.”

When it comes to actual exports, only weapons of war are statistically registered by year. For 2011, Germany reported to the U.N. weapons register that it exported 114 Leopard 1 main battle tanks to Brazil; 59 Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Singapore; 16 Leopard 2s to Canada; 18 Leopard 2s to Turkey; three PV 80 armed patrol boats to Brunei Darussalam; 16 EC 635 combat helicopters to Iraq; and eight LFK RBS 15 missiles with accordant firing devices to Poland.

The report on military equipment exports was the 13th of this kind since 1999. The federal government has to report to the German parliament annually on their practical implementation and the export licenses granted.

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