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Major Exporter of Offensive Weapons to the USA

Norwegian weapons export to the USA consists to a constantly greater extent of components for offensive weapons. Norwatch’s examination of figures from Statistics Norway showed that more than 76% of export to the USA in 2006 consisted of parts and components for cannons, artillery, flame-throwers, howitzers, mortars, and launching pads for rockets and grenades. In 1 year the export of this type of offensive war material has increased from 44,3 mill to 75,5 million euros. (See also Norway Tops the Weapons List).
Artikkelen er mer enn to år gammel. Ting kan ha endret seg.
Norwegian weapons export to the USA consists to a constantly greater extent of components for offensive weapons. Norwatch’s examination of figures from Statistics Norway showed that more than 76% of export to the USA in 2006 consisted of parts and components for cannons, artillery, flame-throwers, howitzers, mortars, and launching pads for rockets and grenades. In 1 year the export of this type of offensive war material has increased from 44,3 mill to 75,5 million euros. (See also Norway Tops the Weapons List).

(First published in Norwegian 21.02.2007)

By Pia Gaarder
Norwatch

Norwatch has for several years studied the development of the Norwegian weapons export and has documented how USA’s warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan has speeded up the Norwegian war industry.

In 2001 a little more than 12% of Norwegian export of weapons and ammunition went to the USA. However, the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on 11 September that year changed the structure of the Norwegian weapons export radically. Today, 5 years later, 44% of all export of weapons and ammunition goes straight to the USA. Weapons export to the USA has in 5 years increased by almost 1000% – from NOK 10 million euros in 2001 to 99,5 million in 2006. Weapons exports in general have increased threefold – from 75,2 million euros in 2001 to 225,7 million in 2006.

Weapons
Norwatch has looked more closely at the figures from Statistics Norway (SSB) on what kinds of weapons and ammunition Norway exports to the USA. The figures are clear: a constantly greater part of the export consists of a single large product category – that is, parts and components for weapons that are in the front line in active warfare: in other words, cannons, artillery, howitzers (small cannons), mortars, launching pads for rockets and grenades, and flame throwers.

In 2006 these parts and components constituted a total of 76% of Norway’s weapons export to the USA. In 1 year the export of this type of war material has increased by 70%, from NOK 44,3 million euros in 2005 to 75,5 million euros in 2006.

Norwatch has asked Hilde Wallacher at the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO), about what is behind this growth.

Globalized Arms Market
“Some of the Norwegian weapons industry has specialized itself narrowly within software and explosives, and this is where we find many of the big contracts. Whole weapon systems are also produced in Norway, but this is not a dominant part of the market. The tendency in the weapons industry is that is to a great extent in the process of becoming high-tech. This requires a constantly increasing degree of specialization, which is in line with the globalization of the market in general”, Hilde Wallacher said.

She pointed out that Norwegian weapon firms produce everything from armours to ski masks, and that these firms obtain prominent significant contracts. But the reason for the great increase in components is the development in the arms market towards a constantly increasing degree of specialisation: the firms produce constantly more components about which they have great expertise. And a few large companies order and include these components in large weapon systems. Many of these large companies are in the USA, such as the giant Lockheed Martin.

Little Information
Wallacher explained that it is very difficult to ascertain exactly what Norway exports in such great quantities to the USA.

“The categories used by Statistics Norway, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the American import statistics are not clear, and it is difficult to obtain more specific knowledge about the matter. The annual reports to the Parliament on weapons export are, furthermore, incomplete and inconsistent. Sometimes it is very specific and other times very vague. It is difficult to compare the information and numbers from year to year”, Wallacher said.

“But on the basis of general knowledge about Norwegian weapons production, what is it most probable that Norway now exports to the USA in increasingly greater amounts?”, Norwatch asked.

"Principally, it is probably a matter of parts and components for military artillery equipment. This can be software for controlling large weapon systems and components for explosives – such as chemicals and ammunition – but these categories have not necessarily increased that much. The most outstanding items are the so-called fire control systems, such as laser pointers and discharge mechanisms”, Wallacher said.

She continued: “It is difficult to ascertain this precisely, but it is important to focus on the fact that it is a matter of significant components for military artillery weapons, which are aggressive weapon systems.”

“Are all other countries just as restrictive as Norway with regard to information on weapons export?”

“As a matter of fact, it is easier to obtain information about Norwegian weapons export by asking the American firms what they produce and who delivers the components”, Wallacher said. She emphasized that, on the other hand, the USA has other areas where it is very restrictive.

Complete End-User Control
“The USA has, for example, complete control of the end users, but it does not disclose them. It uses other criteria as basis for who is to be allowed to buy weapons, and it sells to end users that Norway would never endorse. But, in contrast to Norway, it has complete control of who the end users of American weapons are. For, whereas Norway has said it will not require an end-user declaration from its allies, the USA poses a series of questions to everyone who buys its weapons – including Norway. And the USA is extremely strict in this area. Furthermore, in contrast to Norway, the USA knows exactly who uses its weapons, and where”, Wallacher concluded.

Export Restrictions
The Norwegian weapons industry is in fact subject to strict export restrictions. Norway is not allowed to sell weapons to nations at war or in armed conflict. Nevertheless, Norwegian-produced material is utilized in a series of conflict around the world – and not least in Iraq.

One of the problems is precisely that it does not require a so-called end-user declaration with a re-export clause in the sale of weapons to other NATO countries. Since these countries receive the major part of the Norwegian export, Norway has no control of where Norwegian-produced weapons end up. Parliament’s prohibition against exporting weapons to countries at war or in armed conflict is thereby circumvented.

NORWEGIAN EXPORTS TO USA:


Total exports of weapons and ammunition, all countries

Total export of weapons and ammunition, only to the USA

 

Export to the uSA of parts for cannons, artillery, howitzers, mortars, launching pads for rockets and grenades, flame throwers, etc.

Export to the USA of bombs, grenades, torpedoes, mines, rockets

Export to the USA of cartridges and parts

1999

618,2

118,5

112,3 (95 %)

5,3 (4 %)

2000

411,8

96,0

94,0 (98 %)

1,5 (2%)

2001

646,0

81,2

61,9 (76 %)

8 ,2 (10 %)

2002

1 400,0

304,2

171,2 (56 %)

102,9 (34 %)

23 ,0 (8 %)

2003

1 900,0

251,2

155,8 (62 %)

80,7 (32 %)

10,4 (4 %)

2004

996,0

427,5

253,5 (59 %)

111,4 (26 %)

56 ,3 (13 %)

2005

1 600,0

553,0

353,6 (64 %)

102,9 (19 %)

90,5 (16 %)

2006

1 780,5

794,3

601,8 (76 %)

101,2 (13 %)

73,9 (9%)

All figures are given in Norwegian kroner.

Norwatch has obtained the figures from “the Statistics Bank” of Statistics Norway (SSB). In parentheses is shown the percentages the various weapon categories constitute of the total USA export. Norway also exports some other weapon types, including civilian hunting rifles, but the figures are low.
 *) The lack of data is due to the fact that SSB changed its categorisation of weapon types in 2002.

- Annonse -