More war materiel exported, less approved

Among the war materiel exported by Switzerland was ammunition, but generally requests from countries with human rights violations or ongoing conflicts were turned down. Keystone

Swiss companies exported war materiel worth CHF563.5 million ($595 million) to 72 countries in 2014, an increase of 22% over 2013 (CHF461.3 million), the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) announced on Thursday.

This content was published on February 26, 2015 - 13:19 and agencies

Most of it (CHF187million) went to Germany in the form of armoured vehicles, yet the most dramatic figures pertain to second-best customer Indonesia. The southeast Asian country ordered CHF121million in Swiss war materiel in 2014 – compared with CHF157,000 in 2013. Indonesia’s purchases included an anti-aircraft system and various handguns, small arms and other-caliber weapons.

Broken down by continent, almost 70% of the exports went to Europe, 9% to the Americas, nearly 30% to Asia, 0.3% to Africa and 0.1% to Australia.

The categories of articles exported included weapons of any caliber (24%), armoured land vehicles and their components (21%), fire control instruments (20%), ammunition for weapons of any caliber (19%), and aircraft, aircraft engines and aircraft equipment (almost 7%).

Smaller volume

In 2014, SECO received a total of 2,477 new export requests, compared with 2,274 in 2013. Of the requests submitted, 2,354 were approved. Their total value, CHF568 million, reflected a significant decline on the previous year (CHF885).

In some countries, SECO verified compliance with declarations prohibiting the re-export of materiel purchased from Switzerland.

Requests to ship small arms and light weapons to five countries in Asia, North Africa and eastern Europe were denied either due to the human rights situation in the country, the risk of resale to an undesirable recipient, an internal conflict in the destination, or the existence of Swiss development efforts in the region.

In addition, 37 of 80 preliminary inquiries for the export of war materiel to these areas, as well as to the Middle East and Central and South America, were rejected for similar reasons.

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