The legal market of small arms has doubled in the last four years. In this period, it has gone from roughly $4 billion a year to $8.5 billion currently. If the illicit trade is also to be included, the figure exceeds $10 billion.
Spain is among the 12 countries that exported more than $100 million each year in this type of weapons.
This data is the result of a study elaborated by independent Swiss research group Small Arms Survey and presented at the United Nations. The study, according to Defense News concluded that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as those taking place elsewhere, have helped this increase. In addition, both the United States and European countries are now providing more transparent information about their transactions.
The main arms dealers in the world are the United States, Italy, Germany, Brazil, Austria, Japan, Switzerland, Russia, France, South Korea, Belgium and Spain. Each of these countries exports more than $100 million a year.
Small Arms Survey spokesman Eric Berman, clarified during the presentation to the press, that the legal trade in small arms is greater than the illegal trade, although the sale of “illicit weapons does more harm or can be more problematic”. Between the two, the data has assured that the business exceeds the $10 billion a year mark, and about half of that amount corresponds to the sale of ammunition.
Small Arms Survey is an independent research group based at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland.
Its report was presented to the United Nations at the beginning of a conference to review the Program of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons, which aims to strengthen control over the illegal production of these products.