The arms business is booming: the global arms trade grew by 7.8 percent in the period from 2014 to 2018 – and by 13 percent in Germany – compared to the years 2009 to 2013, according to the report.
The largest exporters were the US, Russia, France, Germany and China. Together, the five countries accounted for 75 percent of all international arms deliveries over the past five years.
German exports during this time were mostly to Israel, South Korea, and Greece, reported the Institute, with a particular interest in German ships and submarines.
Graph created for The Local by Statista.
Arms exports continue to be a sensitive topic in Germany, and the country prides itself on having one of the most restrictive arms export policies in the world.
Furthermore, the trading of weapons abroad are subject to government approval, and foreign buyers have to sign an agreement pledging not to sell their purchase to any other countries or groups.
Still, this hasn’t stopped illegal exports, with employees of German gun manufacturer Heckler & Koch going on trial in May 2018 over thousands of assault rifles that were allegedly exported illegally to violence-torn Mexican states.
A German court fined the company €3.7 million in February and gave suspended jail terms to two of its ex-employees.
Conflicts abroad have also spurred Germany to prohibit or put a freeze on the sale of arms. In November 2018, the German government stopped all arms exports to Saudi Arabia as a reaction to the killing of the government-critical Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
At the end of 2018, German chancellor Angela Merkel signed an agreement forbidding the sale of weapons to any country directly involved with the war in Yemen.
The country exporting the largest number of arms remains the U.S., whose exports alone account for 36 percent of the global arms trade.
“The USA has further consolidated its position as the world's leading arms supplier,” says Sipri weapons expert Aude Fleurant.
They had supplied weapons such as fighter jets, short-range missiles and guided bombs to at least 98 countries – far more nations than any of the others detailed in the report.