With Thursday’s renewed pledge by NATO international locations to fulfill protection spending targets, a few of the largest beneficiaries may very well be U.S. weapons producers, which yearly already export billions of price of arms throughout the globe.
Because the annual NATO summit led to Brussels, U.S. President Donald Trump claimed success in pushing NATO’s 29 member states to fulfill their 2024 aim of every yr spending 2 p.c of the scale of their nationwide economies on protection, to bolster NATO’s readiness within the occasion of an assault from Russia or anybody else. Presently, solely 5 international locations – Britain, Estonia, Greece, Latvia and the U.S. – meet that commonplace.
Whereas any protection buildup would come with an array of prices, similar to paying for extra troops and development of navy installations, a few of the elevated spending would possible go towards munitions, fighter jets, missiles and missile protection programs.
The U.S. is already the world’s largest arms exporter, at 34 p.c of the worldwide complete from 2013 to 2017. The State Division final yr authorized greater than $75 billion in abroad gross sales of weaponry of 1 kind or one other, topping the earlier document of over $68 billion in 2012. These figures simply surpass weapons gross sales from the subsequent two largest arms exporters, Russia and China.
Commerce deficit buster?
A few of the largest weapons and fighter jet makers on the planet are U.S. corporations – Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Common Dynamics, amongst them. However comparatively small shares of their gross sales have lately been to European international locations, which now may have to purchase extra U.S.-made munitions and jets to fulfill the NATO spending aim.
Elevated weapons gross sales to Europe may additionally cut back the present $151 billion annual U.S. commerce deficit with the European Union, which Trump assails as a lot as he has complained about decrease European nationwide protection expenditures in comparison with the U.S. in relationship to the scale of their respective economies. The U.S. spends three.5 p.c of its economic system on protection.
Final yr, in accordance with the Safety Help Monitor, which tracks arms gross sales traits, 5 NATO international locations — Poland, Canada, Romania, Britain and Greece — have been among the many 20 largest U.S. arms consumers, with Saudi Arabia, at greater than $17 billion, simply topping the checklist as the most important U.S. weapons purchaser.
Through the 2013-2017 interval, the Stockholm Worldwide Peace Analysis Institute reported that Asia and Oceania accounted for 42 p.c of world weapons imports, with the Center East at 32 p.c, Europe at 11 p.c and Africa and the Americas at about 7 p.c apiece.