The SIPRI Arms Transfers Database
now contains information on all international transfers of major conventional weapons from 1950 to the end of 2008. It is the only publicly available resource providing consistent data on international arms transfers for this length of time. This Fact Sheet describes the trends that are revealed by the new data.
The five biggest suppliers for the period 2004–2008 were the USA, Russia, Germany, France and the UK. The five biggest recipients were China, India, the UAE, South Korea and Greece. The UAE rose to third place from 16th place in 1999–2003, and transfers to the Middle East were 38 per cent higher in 2004–2008 than in 1999–2003.
While China was the largest recipient of major conventional weapons for the period 2004–2008, the volume of its imports has declined dramatically since 2007. The volume of deliveries to Taiwan has also fallen, dropping by 44 per cent between 1999–2003 and 2004–2008.