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Bad Economy Drives Down American Arms Sales

The report to Congress concluded that the value of worldwide arms deals in 2009 was $57.5 billion, a drop of 8.5 percent from 2008.

While the United States maintained its role as the world’s leading supplier of weapons, officials nonetheless saw the value of its arms trade sharply decline in 2009. This was in contrast to 2008, when the United States increased the value of its weapons sales despite a drop in business for competitors in the global arms bazaar.

“Relationships between arms suppliers and recipients continue to evolve in the 21st century in response to changing political, military and economic circumstances,” Mr. Grimmett concluded. “Where before the principal motivation for arms sales by foreign suppliers might have been to support a foreign policy objective, today that motivation may be based as much on economic considerations.”

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