Israeli arms exports fall: report

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israel’s exports of weapons and military technology fell slightly in 2010 and are expected to drop further in coming years, Israeli business newspaper The Marker reported on Tuesday.

Quoting a senior defence official, the paper said figures for arms sales in 2010 had not been finalised but would show « a drop of few percentage points » compared with 2009.

Israeli military sales in 2009 totaled $6.75 billion, up from $6.3 billion in 2008 and $5.6 billion in 2007.

The newspaper said the dropoff in sales for 2010 was partly the result of the economic crisis, pointing out that defence budgets in the United States and European Union have been slashed.

And it said the Jewish state faces rising competition, particularly in Asia.

Israel now plans to diversify its markets, increasing arms sales to countries which have not significantly curbed their defence spending, including in eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and Russia.

The Jewish state is among the world’s top weapons exporters, behind the United States, EU and Russia. Its defence sector employs at least 40,000 people and specialises in electronic defence systems and high-tech military equipment.

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