World Arms Sales Rise, Dominated by US, Western Europe

Leader of the Nobel committee Berit Reiss-Andersen left presents the award to Hiroshima Survivor Setsuko Thurlow and Beatrice Fihn leader of ICAN

Sales of weapons and military services by the world's largest defense contractors totaled $374.8 billion in 2016, a 1.9 percent increase from the previous year, according to the most recent worldwide arms industry data from Stockholm global Peace Research Institute.

Sales by the world's 100 biggest arms producers increased 1.9 per cent from the previous year to reach $374.8 billion, CNN quoted SIPRI as saying in an official report on Sunday night.

Arm sales by worldwide defense contractors have risen for the first time in five years, due in part to the mounting threat of North Korea's missile and nuclear ambitions, a Swedish think tank announced Monday. The US also accounted for largest share of arms sales (33 percent) followed by Russian Federation 23 percent. However, SIPRI notes that the trends for arms sales in the largest arms-producing countries (the UK, France, Italy and Germany) showed clear divergences. With a combined total of United States dollars 217.2 billion, arms sales of U.S. companies grew by 4.0 per cent in 2016.

Britain's decision to withdraw from the European Union seems to have had no impact on arms sale in the region. These companies in western Europe recorded sales worth $91 billion.

While consumer purchases are included in the sales figures, national governments are by far the largest purchasers of arms and weapons systems, according to the report. Lockheed Martin saw a 10 percent increase in sales in 2016, according to data released today.

"The increasing nuclear weapons capability in North Korea has led to major investments in South Korea", SIPRI Senior Researcher Pieter Wezeman told AFP. This growth is primarily led by USA companies who control over half of world's arms sales. Its arms sales grew by 15.6 per cent compared with 2015 due to increased deliveries to the Russian armed forces and higher export volumes.

South Korea, meanwhile, took a step toward its goal of becoming a major arms exporter, dominating arms sales by emerging producers that also includes Brazil, India and Turkey.

Faced with constant missile and nuclear threats from its belligerent northern neighbour, South Korea is boosting its arms sales and aims to become a major exporter, a study said.

Having gone through a massive industrial development, South Korea is "increasingly using weapons and technology that can compete with what has been supplied by Europe and the US", said Mr Wezeman. Japan's largest arms companies experienced sharp falls in 2016: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' arms sales decreased by 4.8 per cent, while those of Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation declined by 16.3 and 29.2 per cent respectively.

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