Statement on Spanish foreign trade in defence materials, dual-use and other materials. First semester of 2016

Despite the situation of instability and conflict, Spain authorizes and carries out nearly one billion euros of arms exports in the Middle East.

  • In the first half of 2016 Spain exported arms for 1,837 million euros and was authorized for 3,443 million euros.
  • 28 out of every 100 euros of Spanish arms exports are directed to countries in the Middle East.
  • Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Oman and Iraq are among the main destinations for Spanish armaments.

The value of Spanish authorised exports in the first half of 2016 was 3,443.3 million euros, with 1,837.6 million euros of exports actually made, which is an increase of 6.4% over the same half of the previous year. 28.5% of total Spanish arms exports were to the Middle East (574.6 million euro), while 11.4% (401.1 million euro) of the total number of authorisations for the six-month period were granted.

Table 1: Authorised and realised exports of defence materiel, other material and dual use products and technologies, comparison of the Middle East with global data (in millions of euros)

Source: Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness. Own elaboration

A detailed analysis of defence exports to Middle Eastern countries, which are particularly important in the context of regional instability due to the various armed conflicts in the region, shows that the destination where most exports have been authorised is Turkey (86.6%) for a value of 353 million euros, followed by Saudi Arabia (5.1%) for a value of 21 million euros. With regard to completed exports, Oman (11%) is in first place with a value of 196 million euros, followed by Egypt (36%) with a value of 138 million euros, and Saudi Arabia with 69 million euros.

Table 2: Exports authorized and completed in defence material to countries in the Middle East for the first half of 2016 (values in current euros)

Source: Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. Own elaboration

The focus of Spanish arms exports outside the EU and NATO continues to be the Middle East, where there is a slight shift in the trend, increasing exports to Turkey, a partner of the Atlantic Alliance and a key player in border management policy and refugee flows, and a decrease or halt in the exponential growth that had previously occurred in the case of Saudi Arabia, as a result of the media hype generated by its direct involvement in warfare in Yemen and the probable impossibility of justifying full compliance with the criteria of Spanish and European arms export legislation.

For further information:

Centre Delàs d’Estudis per la Pau

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