Dhanapala pointed to stagnating and declining defense budgets and the increasing cost of producing advanced weapons as "powerful incentives" for cross-border cooperation among arms manufacturers. As cooperation grows, he noted, it will be harder to define what an export is and to develop trade controls. Moreover, he questioned whether government or industry would define defense needs as companies become increasingly global.
Dhanapala challenged arms manufacturers to join the UN in "promoting greater transparency and in curbing wrongful uses of weapons" while also volunteering that the UN could serve as a "robust databank" on arms production and trade.The UN currently maintains a voluntary Register of Conventional Arms, which was established in 1992 and calls on countries to annually report their exports and imports of tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships and missiles and missile systems. On average, some 90 countries participate each year.