French arms exports and imports jump in 2016

French arms exports in 2016, worth 8.3 billion euros, increased in value by 14% on those in 2015, while imports of weapons saw a five-fold increase year-on-year, according to the French defence ministry's statistical agency, L'Observatoire économique de la défense.  

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France saw a 14% spike in foreign arms exports and five times more imports last year compared to 2015, according to data from the Observatory of the Defense Economy, a think tank of the Ministry of Defence, reports Defense News.

French exports totalled 8.3 billion euros (US $9.2 billion) last year compared to 6.4 billion euros (US $7.1 billion) from 2011 to 2016, a 3% increase. Imports, at 1.7 billion euros (US $1.9 billion), increased by 2% from 2015 to 2016, the report said. 

Last year, an estimated 859 French companies were involved in arms shipments in 2016, of which the seven largest companies, Airbus, Dassault Aviation, DCNS, MBDA, Nexter, Safran and Thales, accounted for 83% of the value. Small, medium and intermediate size companies accounted for 17% of the shipments and supplied the seven largest companies for the domestic and foreign markets from 2013 to 2016. 

The European Union received 23% of France's exports last year, while Asia received 22 percent and Africa received 21% last year. Meanwhile, 40% of France's imports were from the EU, 32% from other European countries and 17% from the US, the report said

Of the total shipments, 25% were aircraft and satellites; 18% were jet engines nuclear reactors and boilers; and 17% were arms and ammunition. Egypt received the Rafale fighter, a multimission frigate and missiles, and Morocco took two spy satellites.