Bulgaria's Arms Exports Rose 59% in 2015

Politics » DEFENSE | July 7, 2016, Thursday // 13:15
Bulgaria: Bulgaria's Arms Exports Rose 59% in 2015 File photo, EPA/BGNES

Bulgaria sold more arms abroad last year than it did in 2015, the annual government report, cited by local media, shows.

Weapons exported by the country were worth EUR 642.5 M, 59% up from 2014, Capital Daily writes, citing the report.

Much of the production was sold to the Middle East.

As of 13:00 local time on July 07, the document is not yet available on the website of the Interministerial Commission for Export Control and Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

The total value of the 697 permits to export and transfer arms was EUR 1.402 B.

It is the Middle East (mainly Iraq and Saudi Arabia) where most of the output is sold, with the region accounting for EUR 610 M worth of permits and EUR 282 M worth of exports.

A breakdown shows Iraq bought EUR 159.6 M in arms and munitions in 2015 compared to EUR 80.1 M for 2014. Saudi Arabia imported EUR 92.4 M in arms last year, a modest increase compared to the previous one's EUR 85.5 M.

In 2013, Bulgaria's permits to Iraq were worth EUR 24.8 M and exports made were at EUR 6.171 M, while the figures for Saudi Arabia were EUR 1.2 M and EUR 0.498 M, respectively.

In December, a story published by Balkan Insight argued much of the Bulgarian weaponry sold to Saudi Arabia (which became a major customer of Bulgarian arms in 2014), the US and the UAE was destined for the war in Syria.

Israel, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates also finalized "big" weapons deals with Bulgaria, according to Capital Daily.

India procured EUR 58.5 M in arms in 2015, according to Capital Daily. Other export destinations included Angola (EUR 9.8 M), South Africa (EUR 7.5), Chile (EUR 10.1 M), and Uzbekistan (EUR 8.9 M).

In Africa, Uganda was a major buyer, with orders worth EUR 30.7 M.

No transactions were made with Russia even though registered export permits were worth EUR 16.5. In 2014, Bulgaria exported to Russia EUR 10 M in military equipment.

Exports to Ukraine were worth EUR 16.6 M, a considerable increase if compared to 2014's EUR 0.5 M.

Equipment sold to the US had a total value of EUR 31.2 M.

Poland (EUR 5.8 M), Italy, the Czech Republic, and the UK were the biggest importers of Bulgarian military production.

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