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"I actually have a pretty good collection of Arms Control Today, which I have read throughout my career. It's one of the few really serious publications on arms control issues."
– Gary Samore
Former White House Coordinator for Arms Control and WMD Terrorism
U.S. Submits Weapons-Trade Data to UN
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At the end of May, the United States reported to the United Nations that U.S. arms exports last year totaled 2,879 weapons to 23 countries, including Taiwan. This sum ranks as the largest volume of U.S. arms exports for a year since the 1997 total of 4,759 weapons.

Each year, the United States volunteers the arms export report to the UN Register of Conventional Arms, which was established in 1992. Created to make global arms sales more public, the register calls on countries to voluntarily submit annual reports on their trade in seven categories of conventional weapons: battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, and missiles and missile launchers.

The United States defines an export as the transfer of a weapon’s ownership title to the buyer. Other countries may use different criteria, such as the time at which a sold weapon actually leaves their territory.

U.S. arms exports in 2001 would have been low compared with those reported in previous years if not for the export of 1,902 M-26 rockets and 41 other missile systems to Israel, which accounted for two-thirds of the U.S. total.

The next top importers of U.S. weaponry in 2001 were Taiwan, Spain, and Brazil. Washington reported exporting 269 weapons, most of which were ship-launched missiles, to Taiwan. Spain acquired 114 missiles, almost all of which were for arming ships; and Brazil received 91 tanks, seven warships, and two airplanes for maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare.

Because of Israel’s rocket buys, most U.S. arms exports last year went to countries in the Near East. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and Jordan together took receipt of 106 U.S. weapons, which totals 2,049 weapons for the region when added to Israel’s purchase. Seven countries in Asia and the Pacific, including Australia and New Zealand, accounted for 377 of the U.S. export total, making that region a very distant second to the Near East. European countries, which cumulatively were the top importers of U.S. arms for the previous three years, took ownership of only 246 U.S. weapons last year.
For its part, the United States reported importing only a single missile from Norway.