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Arms Transfers to the Americas

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Publisher: SIPRI
June, 2009
United Nation member states are currently discussing the feasibility of an arms trade treaty (ATT) which would seek to create better controls on international arms transfers. This Background Paper is one of a series produced by SIPRI to inform these discussions.

Arms transfers to the Americas, particularly to South America, have risen sharply in recent years. The United States is by far the biggest armsproducing and arms-exporting state, but other states in the region have production and export capabilities. Illicit transfers of small arms and light weapons can have a particularly destabilizing effect on all states in the region, but various steps have been taken to tackle this problem.

A number of transparency and confidence-building measures have been developed in the Americas. But the increase in arms imports to the region means that states must be more consistent in their engagement with these mechanisms in order to limit the potential for mistrust or misunderstanding.


I. Introduction

II. Arms transfers to and from states in the Americas

III. Transparency in arms transfers

IV. Conclusions


Dr Mark Bromley is a Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Dual-Use and Arms Trade Control Programme.