Even though states may not intentionally supply materiel to armed groups, a lack of stringent risk assessments on weapons and ammunition exports destined for areas prone to diversion can hamper efforts to curtail the broader illicit arms trade.
Authorized small arms imports to South-east Asia were worth at least USD 443 million in 2016, a 48 per cent increase from 2015, as revealed by the Small Arms Survey’s Trade Update 2019: Transfers, Transparency, and South-east Asia Spotlight. This increase, combined with the diversification in their small arms trading partners, highlights the region’s growing significance for international small arms flows.
The 2018 edition of the Small Arms Survey’s Trade Update—analyzing the small arms authorized trade in 2015—finds that the global authorized small arms trade was worth at least USD 5.7 billion in 2015, with small arms ammunition exports valued at USD 2.3 billion. The total value represents a seven per cent decrease between 2014 and 2015, mostly due to a USD 198 million decline in exports by top exporting countries the United States, Brazil, and Italy.
The Small Arms Survey’s Trade Update 2017: Out of the Shadows provides an overview of the international trade in small arms and light weapons in 2014, identifies the world’s top and major exporters of small arms and light weapons, and assesses changes in trade patterns from 2013 to 2014.
The Small Arms Survey’s Trade Update 2016: Transfers and Transparency reports that the world’s ‘top’ and ‘major’ small arms exporters delivered at least USD 5.8 billion worth of small arms in 2013, an increase of 17 per cent compared to the USD 5 billion worth exported in 2012.
Since 2001 at least 15 countries have imported more than USD 100 million worth of small arms in a single calendar year. The United States is the world’s largest importer, having received more than USD 1billion in small arms in both 2007 and 2008.
Five countries— Canada, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom—also routinely imported more than USD 100 million in small arms a year during the period 2001–08. However, imports by the United States average more than the combined averages of these five states.