Download this SIPRI Background Paper
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.
Using the latest available
data, this paper describes the
ongoing growth in
international transfers of major
conventional weapons, military
spending and arms production.
It also describes the increasing
complexity of international
arms export control policies.
The arms trade is global. The
trade in major conventional
weapons is dominated by a
handful of big exporters.
However, even small weapon
producers and states without an
active arms industry can act as
suppliers of either second-hand
equipment or newly produced
but less technologically
advanced weapon systems, such
as small arms and light weapons
and their ammunition. The
prevention of illicit and
destabilizing arms transfers is a
global concern that requires the
active engagement of all
members of the international
II. Recent trends in international arms transfers
III. Recent trends in world military expenditure
IV. Recent trends in world arms production
V. Recent trends in export control mechanisms
Other papers in the series
Arms transfers to Central, North and West Africa, Pieter D. Wezeman, April 2009
Arms transfers to the Americas, Mark Bromley, June 2009
Arms transfers to the Middle East, Sam Perlo-Freeman, July 2009
Arms transfers to Asia and Oceania, Siemon T. Wezeman, October 2009
Arms transfers to East and Southern Africa, Pieter D. Wezeman, December 2009
Arms transfers to Europe and Central Asia, Paul Holtom, February 2010
About the authors
Mark Bromley (United Kingdom) is a Researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers
Dr Paul Holtom (United Kingdom) is Leader of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.
Dr Sam Perlo-Freeman (United Kingdom) is a Senior Researcher with the SIPRI
Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme.
Pieter D. Wezeman (Netherlands) is a Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms