Dutch Arms Exports Reach Record 1.2 Billion Euros In 2005

December 28, 2006 3:40am CST
Dutch arms exports soared to 1.2 billion euros (1.6 billion dollars) during the course of 2005, pushing the Netherlands into the top five military exporters in the world for that year, according to a report in Thursday's Volkskrant newspaper. Chile, which has taken surplus Dutch frigates and F-16 strike aircraft over recent years, bought arms to the value of 296 million euros in 2005. Egypt spent 40 million euros in 2005, the most recent year for which figures were available, according to research conducted by Martin Broek, an activist who has pressed the state for years to provide details of arms trading activities. Much of the trade was in high-value simulation systems and electronic components for tanks, helicopters and aircraft produced elsewhere, and much of it was conducted with other NATO members, according to Broek. The main exporters included the Defence Ministry, which sold surplus arms, and the companies Stork Aerospace, Damen shipbuilders and Thales, the Dutch branch of which makes naval defence systems. He noted that shipping arms through the Netherlands was relatively easy, particularly for NATO partners. Tear gas grenades had, for example, been shipped to Kazakhstan. "We would not easily grant an export permit for this," Broek noted. Arms had also been shipped to Lebanon, Israel, Pakistan and Peru via Dutch ports, he said. Broek predicted arms exports in 2006 would be even higher, with big orders from Chile and Indonesia.
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