Small arms trade 2016 update

The Small Arms Trade Survey's Trade Update shows Germany as the most transparent  small arms exporter while United Arab Emirates remains in the bottom of the list.

The Small Arms Survey's Trade Update 2016: Transfers and Transparency provides an overview of the international trade in small arms and light weapons in 2013. The 2016 edition counts with a transparency barometer that classifies the most transparent top and major small arms exporters.

Major exporters are those who export at least 10 million dollars worth of small arms annually. Their top 3 is Finland, France and Canada. Mexico, Argentina and Peru are among its ranks. Top exporters (exporting at least $100 million dollars) in 2013 were United States, Italy and Germany. Brazil is among top exporters.

Global small arms trade reached $6 billion in 2013. The United States exported a record $1,1 billion worth of small arms followed by Italy $644 million and Germany $ 557 million. They accounted for almost 40% of exports in 2013.

Nicolas Florquin, the survey's research coordinator noted, “One of the key findings in the report is that trade with the Middle East increased markedly in 2013. Imports by major importers in the region nearly doubled between 2012 and 2013.”

The transparency barometer designed for this year reviewed 49 top and major small arms exporters. It scores key exporters out of 25 available points from the most to the least transparent.

Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands are the most transparent with at least 19 points. Instead, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are the least transparent with zero points.

The average score was 11.16, representing less than 50% of a perfect score, suggesting much room for improvements is plausible.

Top and major Latin American exporters are among the least transparent. Mexico (32) scored 8,75 points, Argentina (37) scored 8,00 points; Brazil (40) scored 7,00 points and Peru (45) scored 5,75 points.

Not all small arms producers and exporters that are believed to be important report to international transparency mechanisms.

Export authorizations remain the most undisclosed information of small arms reporting. about half the exporters under review didn't provide any information on the licenses they granted and more than 60% didn't report on those they refused.

Olivier Marc Zehnder, Deputy Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the UN, highlighted that the “arms trade treaty and its reporting obligations play a crucial role in promoting responsible arms transfers,” and stressed that “universal ratification remains vital and reporting obligations must be fulfilled by State parties,” at the press conference on the launch of the survey.

The Arms Trate Treaty (ATT) could potentially boost transparency as state parties are required to deliver their first annual reports on exports and imports of conventional arms, including small arms by 31 May 2016. The ATT entered into force on December 2014 with 130 signatories. So far there are 83 State parties and 83 ratifications.

The Small Arms Survey is a global center whose mandate is to generate impartial, evidence-based, and policy-relevant knowledge on all aspects of small arms and armed violence.  The report was launched on 6 June  and was hosted by the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN and took place in New York.


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