The Campaign Against Arms Trade today condemned the hypocrisy of Tony Blair and other G8 leaders over the arms trade, pointing out that the five biggest arms exporting countries are all members of the G8. The USA, UK, Russia, France and Germany not only top the list, but completely dominate the market, accounting for 89% of arms exports to the developing world in 2003.
In these five countries, arms companies receive massive subsidies, out of all proportion to help given to civil industries. UK arms exports are subsidised by the UK taxpayer to the tune of around £900 million per year. Arms companies also receive the help of senior politicians in pushing arms deals to the rest of the world, encouraging governments to waste money that could be spent on desperately needed healthcare and education.
Campaign Against Arms Trade spokesperson James O'Nions said, "the G8 leaders talk about poverty, peace and even reducing arms proliferation, but their financial and political support for the arms trade continues to undermine any progress in these areas. Huge amounts of time and money go into promoting arms sales, underwriting exports and providing subsidies. While the G8 countries push 'free trade' on the global south, they provide a system of corporate welfare for arms giants like Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems and Thales."
For more information please contact: CAAT Press Office on 020 7281 0297
1. CAAT's four-page briefing 'The G8: Arms Dealers to the World' is available here and contains a number of other relevant facts and figures
2. That the USA, UK, Russia, France and Germany are the top five arms exporters refers to the period 2000-2003 and comes from the 2004 edition of 'Arms Transfers to Developing Nations', published by the Congressional Research Service and based on US government figures. The figure of 89% also comes from this source.