France’s Arms Exports Fell by More than 40% in 2020

According to a report from the French Ministry of the Armed Forces submitted to Parliament on Tuesday, French arms exports fell by nearly 41% last year.

“In 2020, the amount of order intake amounted to 4.9 billion euros”, against 8.3 billion euros the previous year, according to this document, which is to be officially published on Wednesday. The amount of French arms deliveries fell by more than half last year to 4.3 billion euros, against 9.9 billion in 2019, after particularly successful 2015, 2016 and 2018, boosted in particular by sales of Rafale fighter jets to Egypt, India and Qatar.

Saudi Arabia (703.9 million euros), the United States (433.6 million euros) and Morocco (425.9 million euros) Africa accounts for 16% of total orders are among France’s largest customers. last year.

According to a Harris Interactive poll conducted in mid-May for Amnesty International, 78% of those questioned believe that there is a lack of transparency on arms exports. Two deputies, Jacques Maire (of the presidential party LREM) and Michèle Tabarot (Les Republicains, right), advocated in a report published in November to strengthen the powers of Parliament over the control of these exports. “In our country, the executive is the judge and part of the quality of the examination process for license applications (for export, editor’s note), in particular as regards the rigorous examination of respect for international humanitarian law”, deplore the deputies .

In France, the decision to export or not is taken by the Prime Minister on the advice of an Interministerial Commission for the Study of Exports of War Material (CIEEMG), according to a confidential procedure. The Minister of the Armies Florence Parly indicates in the report to have “started to integrate the proposals” of the deputies. The report specifies that Paris refused a total of 47 export licenses in 2020, the vast majority to Asian countries, a request from the two deputies. The latter also demanded that Parliament’s control also be exercised over exports of dual-use goods, civil and military, by taking an interest in the identity of the recipient of the deliveries.