Sales of Swiss-made war goods stay strong

Switzerland exported more weapons in the first quarter of 2010 compared with the same time last year, when arms sales soared to a record high.

This content was published on April 29, 2010 - 14:00

Germany, Britain and Pakistan were the biggest buyers of Swiss weaponry, which netted SFr148 million in sales ($136.6 million), statistics from the Federal Customs Office showed on Thursday. That is nearly three per cent more than the same quarter in 2009.

Three countries expressed an increased interest in Swiss-made war goods. Pakistan nearly doubled its intake from SFr7.5 million to SFr13.6 million. Sweden and Turkey nearly tripled purchases to SFr10.7 million and SFr8 million, respectively. The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) would not say why.

Despite the economic downturn, Swiss weapons exports brought in about SFr728 million last year, around 0.8 per cent more than in 2008.

Among the major transactions that year were the delivery of air defence systems and munitions to Saudi Arabia worth SFr132 million.

Switzerland exports war material to 74 countries, with more than half going to European nations. About ten per cent goes to the United States and 25 per cent to Asia.

A proposal to ban weapons exports and other war goods was overwhelmingly rejected at the ballot box in November 2009, when 68.2 per cent of Swiss voters were against the proposal. It was the third time since 1972 that voters had shot down the initiative. and agencies

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