German Arms Exports Nearly Double In 2015

The US isn't the only country to can crank up its sales of weapons around the world. As we have pointed out previously, Germany is also a relatively large exporter in the global arms trade.

It turns out that Germany had a booming arms export business in 2015, because as Reuters reports, German arms exports almost doubled last year to their highest level since the beginning of this century. The value of individual approvals granted for exporting arms was €7.86 billion last year compared to €3.97 billion in 2014. Exports were boosted by a the approval of four tanker aircraft for Britain worth €1.1 billion, and a controversial approval of battle tanks and howitzers along with munitions to be sent to Qatar.

From Reuters

Newspaper Welt am Sonntag said the value of individual approvals granted for exporting arms was 7.86 billion euros ($8.75 billion) last year compared with 3.97 billion euros worth of arms exports in 2014.

 

It said the Economy Ministry had pointed to special factors that boosted arms exports such as the approval of four tanker aircraft for Britain worth 1.1 billion euros.

 

It also pointed to the approval of battle tanks and tank howitzers along with munitions and accompanying vehicles worth 1.6 billion euros for Qatar - a controversial deal that the report said was approved in 2013 by the previous government.

 

The Economy Ministry declined to comment on the report.

 

In February German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said preliminary figures showed that Germany had given approval for around 7.5 billion euros worth of arms shipments in 2015.

 

The Federal Office for Economics and Export Control (Bafa), a subsidiary of the economy ministry, is responsible for licensing arms export deals and Gabriel had promised to take a much more cautious approach to licensing arms exports, especially with regard to the Middle East.

 

Germany is one of the world's main arms exporters to EU and NATO countries and has been cutting its sales of light weapons outside those states.

 

Last year the government rejected 100 applications for arms export approvals – the same number as in the previous year, Welt am Sonntag reported. It said Berlin had given 12,687 applications the green light in 2015 – 597 more than in the previous year.

According to Deutsche Welle, Qatar, a Gulf Arab state has been labeled by German opposition parties as an alleged source of funding for ISIS, which is why the receipt of tanks and heavy artillery, as well as ammunition and accompanying vehicles makes it a controversial sale.

From DW

Qatar, a Gulf Arab state panned by German opposition parties as an alleged source of funding for the "Islamic State" (IS) terror militia, received combat tanks and heavy artillery, as well as ammunition and accompanying vehicles worth 1.6 billion euros.

 

Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who heads the Social Democrats, had tried to stop the delivery to Qatar but was outvoted by other ministers on Germany's Federal Security Council.

 

That deal had already been cleared in 2013 by Chancellor Angela Merkel's previous coalition, which then comprised her conservatives and the pro-business liberal Free Democrats (FDP).

 

Disclosure in February of that sale prompted renewed outcries from church-based lobby groups and charities such as Pax Christi and Misereor.

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Exporting weapons and war appears to be something that the western world is still quite strong in, despite the rest of the world seeing global trade slumping. Also, when it comes to the €1.6 billion sale to Qatar, is it really a surprise to anyone - €1.6 billion is a lot of cash to pass up, and money talks as we have all come to learn.