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Swedish weapons exports on the rise

TT/Paul O'Mahony · 3 Mar 2010, 15:28

Published: 03 Mar 2010 15:28 GMT+01:00

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"Of the total defence materiel exports, 80 percent went to well established partner countries, both within the EU and to countries like South Africa and the United States," said agency director-general Andreas Ekman Duse in a statement.

"As in other years, larger deals play their part and have a bearing on the statistics, such as sales of the Combat Vehicle 90 to the Netherlands and the JAS 39 Gripen [fighter jet] to South Africa," he said.

The export figures encompass products made by companies based in Sweden, regardless of the origins of the owners.

More than half (53 percent) of exports went to other EU countries, along with Norway and Switzerland.

27 percent was accounted for by countries defined by ISP as "established partners", including the US, Australia, South Africa, Canada, South Korea and Singapore.

The final 20 percent went to twenty different countries, dominated by Pakistan (1.4 billlion kronor) and India (901 million kronor), but also including Malaysia (129 million kronor), Thailand (81 million kronor) and the United Arab Emirates (900,000 kronor).

Green Party spokesman Lars Ångström said he was appalled to see Saudia Arabia on the list of countries buying defence equipment from Sweden.

"Saudi Arabia seriously and systematically violates human rights as defined by the UN, and it is unacceptable that exports have gone there," he said in a statement.

Story continues below…

Ångström was also distressed to see Bahrain, Oman and Malaysia among the recipient nations.

The Netherlands was the biggest buyer of Swedish defence equipment in 2009, paying a total of 2.5 billion kronor. Completing the list of the top five purchasers were South Africa (1.7 billion), Pakistan (1.4 billion), and the United Kingdom, which spent a fraction more than India's 901 million kronor.

ISP's role in the process involves approving licences for the export of military equipment. Permission is conditional on a number of factors, with certain barriers put in place if a country finds itself at war. As in the case with the United States however, the agency can continue to authorise sales to warfaring countries if there are overriding defence and security policy reasons deemed to tip the balance in favour of continued trade.

TT/Paul O'Mahony (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:10 March 3, 2010 by Nemesis
This is good news for Sweden.

This will help keep jobs in Sverige.
16:48 March 3, 2010 by cloud&rain
Sweden selling weapons both for India and Pakistan? This is what called pinch the child and sing lullaby at the same time. Nations that produce and sell weapons have a commercial interest in war. But nations that needs to be developed are fighting with each other.
16:56 March 3, 2010 by Elias06
Sweden is supporting a Guerrilla in the south of Morocco,this indepandantist guerilla are manipulated by algeria against Morocco,and algeria is a big client of swedish weapons...me like the swedish Marketing when it comes to defending freedom with swedish weapons
17:25 March 3, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
Lars Angstrom cracks me up!
17:47 March 3, 2010 by livinginsweden
The home of the nobel peace price is selling weapons that kill?

I dont believe it. This country has better democracy than anyone else. This country uphold human rights better than any other country! Listen up LailaC1!

Like the spin about weapons keeping peace.....

ha ha this must be a joke.
17:52 March 3, 2010 by skatty
Good for Noble Peace Prize, it has been invested by weapon industry!
17:53 March 3, 2010 by sissygirl
well we can be confident that the Swedish weapons will work properly. I wouldn't want to defend myself witha Chinese gun
18:12 March 3, 2010 by stoffer
To all of you who are surprised that Sweden sells weapons - if you would know Swedish history better you would know that Sweden has great military history and also tradition for innovation in tactics, strategy and weapons development.
18:26 March 3, 2010 by Mina08
but where neutral? LOL
19:08 March 3, 2010 by comfortably_numb
Ya so much for a so called "neutral" peace loving country
19:17 March 3, 2010 by hjoian
well...when you have sold weapons to everyone else and then they have all jkilled eachother, then sweden will be top dog. Is that the long term stratagy here? No morals....blood money....just like WW2
19:20 March 3, 2010 by Iraniboy
I think she should be more appalled when it is sold to US and UK. Saudis have killed dozens of innocent people while US and UK have killed thousands. (If quantity concerns her)
21:09 March 3, 2010 by Tall swede
Everyone seems to confuse neutral with passive. We do have weapons, and we sell them too. No conflict there.

And Norway is the home of the nobel peace price...
23:35 March 3, 2010 by Caribbean guy/Swedish Gal
theres nothing wrong with selling weapons to nations to protect themselves
00:38 March 4, 2010 by kzjh72
A lot of people are surprised to hear about Sweden's relatively large weapon industry as Sweden is (or used to be) a neutral country. But in fact a strong domestic weapon industry is required for a country that wants to be able to keep neutral in conflicts. A truly neutral country shouldn't have to rely on others to supply them with weapons. That's why a small country like Sweden had to build up its own industry for military air-planes, tanks, submarines etc. These kind of things costs a lot to develop and a larger market than the small Swedish market was, and still is, required for te funding. Having said all that, it is no doubt that Swedish-made military equipment now can be found in quite a few questionable places around the globe.
07:19 March 4, 2010 by wenddiver
Weaponry, requires constant field testing in conflicts to retain a technical edge. Goes without saying it will be used somewhere.
07:27 March 4, 2010 by warriorwithin
here is the swedish law about weapons export

'' Enligt vapenexportlagen så får man inte exportera krigsmateriel till länder som är i krig, har en risk för att hamna i krig eller till ett land som bryter mot de mänskliga rättigheterna.''

It means that an arms company cannot export arms to countries in war or have chances of getting into a war or there is humanrights violations there.

Their customers include US,India and pakistan!!!!!!!!!!!

A joke on how countries think and work:

There are two people fighting for a Mango ,how to solve this problem?

Indian way: cut the mango and divide it equally.

Pakistani way: shoot one guy and give the mango to the other.

Amerikan way: kill both of them and eat the mango .

Swedish way: give them both weapons and they kill each other and then eat the unclaimed mango. (So that you are not the bad guy).

Swedes have been cunning pussies this in the past too. Supplying ammunition and steel to the nazis when the nazis were winning and switching sides to the allies when the germans started loosing.
08:50 March 4, 2010 by Kevin Harris

I was against, until I read your post. You have made a very good point. A neutral country can't buy arms from another and remain neutral. I had never thought about it that way. Nice one.
08:51 March 4, 2010 by peropaco
53% went to EU countries and from there to Dubai, Gaza and Somalia
09:56 March 4, 2010 by Tall swede
Do we have to be isolationists like north korea or former east germany to be neutral? Of course not. And we are not responsible for peace all over the world just because we dont take sides. Our neutral stance are not the same thing as our peace loving political views. Just as all peace loving countries are not neutral, neutral countries dont have to be peace loving. It sure helps, but its not the same thing. We are not the referee in the soccergame of world politics. We are a player too. We play passive to try to avoid injuries, but we would still take a shot at the goal if we get a chance.
11:55 March 4, 2010 by Fernandis
@ warriorwithin .............You wrote a joke in ur mail:

Indian way: cut the mango and divide it equally.

Pakistani way: shoot one guy and give the mango to the other.

Amerikan way: kill both of them and eat the mango .


Indian Way: Encourage the conflicts hiddenly between both of them so that they fight till death and in the mean time eat mango because they don't deserve :)
12:00 March 4, 2010 by LailaC1
Blah blah blah livinginsweden - Sweden is probably the lesser evil out of all the weatern countries. We're a small nation and need to make money too - although I would say that we should be alot pickier about our customers...Pakistan? Malaysia? Saudi arabia? Not good.
12:15 March 4, 2010 by peropaco
The Indian way would be to take the mango, make some darn good chutney and sell it to everyone ;-)
16:48 March 4, 2010 by Fernandis
LailaC1 ....... well, if u show concerns to countries like Saidi arabia, Malysia or Pakistan, then u guys will die because of hunger....who else is going to buy weapons from sweden????? no one. Both india and Pakistan are in conflict and knowing this Sweden sold Bofors Artilery to India but denied supply of ammunition when they needed and sold them same thing in black market at 10 times more than usual price. Same game played with Pakistan....first they denied them and then sold them AWACS air-control system, despite u know that selling weapons to both these countries will just raise tension between them.
16:57 March 4, 2010 by Joshe
Sweden sold "Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft 'SAAB 2000'" to Pakistan....which is a safe deal, i think. But selling destructive weapons such as bombs, missiles, rockets....is a concern especially in those regions where conflicts are high, indepenedent of which country gets them. But on other hand, this is also linked with survival of sweden, if they sell then how they survive.
19:13 March 4, 2010 by comfortably_numb

Yes, Sweden can develop weapons and use it for domestic purposes or to "protect" itself should sh!t happen. But as soon as it exports them, doesn't matter to who, it is no longer playing the neutral role. Alot of unjust, violent, and un-called for wars have taken place in the name of "protection", "self defence", "god", and the American "pre-emptive war". All our sugar coated ways of doing the same thing: Killing Lives. And Sweden is helping this cause by exporting weapons.
22:43 March 4, 2010 by Buccaneer
@ livinginsweden

"The home of the nobel peace price is selling weapons that kill?

Like the spin about weapons keeping peace."

Dont tell me you are offended or surprised by Sweden's hide and seek games? Sweden has been at it since WW11. providing the weapon for wars and conflict and making sure one of the party gets gets a nobel peace price at the end.

Did someone say neutral? You wish!
23:44 March 4, 2010 by kzjh72

I agree with you. It is very difficult to be truly neutral for a small country. Sweden tried for a while to have relatively (for the size of the population) strong armed forces without having to rely on other countries to supply them with the required equipment. They have given that up now. And as you say when you start to sell weapons, doesn't really matter to whom, then another aspect of being truly neutral is gone. Maybe it is a utopia for a small country to be fully neutral.
09:31 March 5, 2010 by ali_bin_umar
Swedish weapons are one the best in the world.
13:48 March 6, 2010 by Shakeel
I think the indian will be happy to purchase the weapons to kill peoples in kashmir, behar and punjab under the shelter of multiculture and multireligious country.
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