Top Military Weapons Exporters

Machine gun is an example of a military weapon

Machine gun

Global sales from military weapons exports by country amounted to US$358.8 million in 2016.

Overall, the value of military weapons exports were up by an average 9% for all exporting countries since 2012 when military weapons shipments were valued at $329.1 million. Fron 2015 to 2016, the value of global military weapons exports gained 2.3%.

Among continents, North American countries accounted for the highest dollar worth of exported military weapons during 2016 with shipments valued at $235.3 million or roughly two-thirds (65.6%) of the global total. In second place were European exporters at 13% while 9% of worldwide military weapons shipments originated from Asia with 8.6% for African shippers.

The 6-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix is 930190 for military weapons (excluding artillery products).

Military Exports by Country

Countries

Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of military weapons during 2016:

  1. United States: US$234.4 million (65.3% of total military weapons exports)
  2. Liberia: $30.6 million (8.5%)
  3. Switzerland: $23.1 million (6.4%)
  4. South Korea: $17 million (4.7%)
  5. Slovakia: $11.9 million (3.3%)
  6. India: $11.4 million (3.2%)
  7. US Minor Outlying Is: $7.9 million (2.2%)
  8. Ukraine: $5 million (1.4%)
  9. Poland: $4.8 million (1.3%)
  10. New Zealand: $3.6 million (1%)
  11. Sri Lanka: $2.2 million (0.6%)
  12. Thailand: $1.2 million (0.3%)
  13. Australia: $1.1 million (0.3%)
  14. Netherlands: $1.1 million (0.3%)
  15. Canada: $838,000 (0.2%)

The listed 15 countries shipped 99.3% of all military weapons exports in 2016 (by value).

Among the above countries, the fastest-growing military weapons exporters since 2012 were: New Zealand (up 16,273%), Slovakia (up 4,738%), Sri Lanka (up 3,984%) and South Korea (up 463.6%).

Two countries posted declines in their exported military weapons sales, specifically Switzerland (down -37.4%) and Canada (down -29.3%).

Advantages

The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for military weapons during 2016. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the surplus between the value of each country’s exported military weapons and its import purchases for that same commodity.

  1. United States: US$226.3 million (net export surplus up 34% since 2012)
  2. Liberia: $30.6 million (reversing a -$2,000 deficit)
  3. Switzerland: $23.1 million (down -37.4%)
  4. India: $11.4 million (up 7%)
  5. US Minor Outlying Islands: $7.9 million (no amount for 2012)
  6. Poland: $3.5 million (up 72.4%)
  7. Ukraine: $3 million (no amount for 2012)
  8. Sri Lanka: $2.2 million (reversing a -$53,000 deficit)
  9. New Zealand: $1.8 million (down -141.2%)
  10. Senegal: $231,000 (down -49.1%)
  11. Chile: $228,000 (up 442.9%)
  12. Montenegro: $71,000 (reversing a -$95,000 deficit)
  13. Swaziland: $55,000 (reversing a -$6,000 deficit)
  14. Tanzania: $50,000 (reversing a -$85,000 deficit)
  15. Madagascar: $10,000 (up 42.9%)

The United States has the highest surplus in the international trade of military weapons. In turn, this positive cashflow confirms America’s strong competitive advantage for this specific product category.

Opportunities

The following countries posted the highest negative net exports for military weapons during 2016. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the deficit between the value of each country’s imported military weapons purchases and its exports for that same commodity.

  1. Indonesia: -US$237.2 million (net export deficit up 1,936% since 2012)
  2. Ghana: -$177.6 million (up 83,682%)
  3. Mexico: -$18.7 million (down -43.8%)
  4. Iraq: -$12.7 million (down -77.7%)
  5. United Arab Emirates: -$11.8 million (reversing a $3 million surplus)
  6. Thailand: -$9.6 million (down -76%)
  7. Netherlands: -$9.4 million (reversing a $439,000 surplus)
  8. South Korea: -$7.2 million (reversing a $252,000 surplus)
  9. Slovakia: -$6.8 million (up 52,062%)
  10. Canada: -$4.7 million (down -90.1%)
  11. Colombia: -$4.6 million (down -67.9%)
  12. Lebanon: -$4 million (up 39,550%)
  13. Namibia: -$3.9 million (up 4,426%)
  14. Latvia: -$3 million (up 36.9%)
  15. Pakistan: -$2.6 million (up 807.9%)

Indonesia incurred the highest deficit in the international trade of military weapons. In turn, this negative cashflow highlights Indonesia’s arduous competitive disadvantage for this specific product category but also signals opportunities for military weapons-supplying countries that help satisfy the powerful demand.

Companies

Military Weapons Exporting Companies

Below are global military weapons-manufacturing businesses that represent established players engaged in the international military weapons trade. The home country for each company is shown within parenthesis.

  • Austal (Australia)
  • CAE Inc (Canada)
  • Indian Ordnance Factories (India)
  • Korea Aerospace Industries (South Korea)
  • Lockheed Martin (United States)
  • RUAG Rüstungs Unternehmen Aktiengesellschaft (Switzerland)
  • Ukroboronprom (Ukraine)
  • United Technologies Corporation (United States)










See also Highest Value US Export Products and America’s Top Trading Partners

Research Sources:
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Exports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on July 18, 2017

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on July 18, 2017

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on July 18, 2017

Wikipedia, Companies by arms sales. Accessed on July 18, 2017