The U.S. sold a record $66.3 billion worth of weapons to foreign governments last year, including foreign military sales worth $33.4 billion to Saudi Arabia, Reutersreported Monday.
The Congressional Research Service stated that this number “distorts the current picture of the global arms trade market.” The research service called the $66.3 billion U.S. arms sales figure an “outlier.”
Only the U.S. and France increased their 2011 arms sales from the previous year, while every other major supplier saw declines.
The U.S. led the previous year’s list of top global arms suppliers, followed by Russia with $4.8 billion. France, U.K., Germany and Italy remain the leading arms suppliers in Europe, despite a drop in the collective market share from 12.2 percent in 2010 to 7.2 percent in 2011.
Among the buyers, Saudi topped the list and India came in second with $6.9 billion, followed by the United Arab Emirates with $4.5 billion.
Richard Grimmett and Paul Kerr added in the report that Taiwan and other Asian countries were also among the leading arms buyers.
The CRS report noted that competition will heat up in the coming years as U.S. and European countries compete to sell arms to a small number of buyers.
The Reuters article said that global arms sales between 2004 and 2011 ranged from $42 billion to $67 billion per year, with the total for the period coming in at $467.9 billion.