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Finland beefs up arms exports to Middle East

Over the last 18 months, Finland’s Ministry of Defence has awarded domestic companies 50 permits to sell weapons to countries in the Middle East. Finland is currently supplying arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, for example, both of which have recently bombed civilian targets in Yemen.

Patria Nemo 120 mm -kranaatinheitinjärjestelmä yhdistettynä Patrian AMV-miehistönkuljetysvaunuun. Sekä kranaatinheittimiä että vaunuja varten on myönnetty vientilupia Lähi-itään.
The Finnish-made Patria Nemo mortar system atop an armoured personnel carrier. Image: Patria

The weapons market in the Middle East is heating up and Finland wants its share of the market – at least if arms export figures from the last 18 months are to be believed.

From the beginning of 2015 to the end of June 2016, 522 permits were granted to Finnish defence manufacturers to export their products abroad. 50 of these were approved to Middle Eastern countries, raising the 2012 proportion of 1.8 percent of total sales to 3 percent.

A permit to export the arms does not necessarily mean that the buyer will clinch the deal, but in terms of euros, most of the trade agreements become a reality. SaferGlobe, an independent peace and security thinktank operating out of Finland, monitors the arms trade. It says that Finnish contractors received permits amounting to 1.7 billion euros between 2004 and 2014, with 1.2 billion in transactions eventually carried out. 

In terms of euros spent, the amount of arms exports to the Middle East has increased manifold in recent years. The latest figures indicate that the trend shows no signs of slowing.

More here.

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