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Britain becomes world’s largest arms exporter

Britain became the world’s largest arms exporter last year, overtaking the United States, the Financial Times reported Wednesday, quoting government figures.

Britain won £10 billion (about $20 billion) of new defense orders in 2007 from overseas, giving it a 33% share of the world export market, according to figures released Tuesday. British export orders for 2006 totaled £5.5 billion (some $11 billion). “As demonstrated by this outstanding export performance, the UK has a first class defense industry with some of the world’s most technologically sophisticated companies,” Trade and Investment Minister Lord Jones was quoted as saying.

In 2007, Saudi Arabia and the United States topped the nations on the British arms exports list, according to data from the Defense and Security Organization (DSO), set up by the Trade and Investment Department to promote arms exports. However, it did not provide details for other countries for 2007 or year-or-year comparisons.

Last year’s orders mean Britain has been the second largest exporter of arms over the previous five years, after the US, according to DSO figures. Cumulative exports from the US over the last five years totaled $63 billion, compared with Britain’s $53 billion during the same time. (Xinhua)