The Norwegian government has announced introduction of more stringent laws to improve control of its domestically produced arms exports.
Though wishing to have a major role as a peace-making country, Norway exported weapons, ammunition, and other military material totalling just under NOK 3.9 billion (about USD 685.93/GBP 430.31 million at today’s ROE) in 2011.
Sales accounted for approximately NOK 3.6 billion (circa USD 632.89/GBP 397.15 millions).
2009’s exports were NOK 3.1 billion (roughly USD 544.85/GBP 341.86 millions), falling to NOK 2.6 billion (about USD 456.81/ almost GBP 286.78 millions – Statistics Norway figures) but just for the following year.
Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace and Nammo are Norway’s arms producers.
At the same time, it has also been claimed Norwegian-made weapons were behind more than 200 civilian casualties in the Iraq war.
Iran has also allegedly attempted to buy Norwegian-made nuclear missile components for military use.
“Norwegian defence industry companies play an important role in value creation, and the export of defence materiel is continuing at a high level,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide in a recent statement regarding the annual whitepaper aboutexports and their control, as well as international non-proliferation cooperation submitted to parliament.
“The Government attaches importance to ensuring that the defence industry has good and predictable framework conditions. At the same time, we will safeguard and further develop clear and stringent legislation for the export of defence materiel,” he added.
As part of the legislative crackdown, the government proposes improved measures to process applications in exports of defence material to authoritarian regimes.
There will also be new method to ensure best possible consistency and coherency regarding assessments of the human rights situation in countries wishing to purchase Norwegian arms, for example.
Moreover, there will be a lowering of the threshold when it comes to halting exports should the destination country’s situation change significantly.
These measures come in addition to introducing practices that are more stringent when it comes to ensuring against exported weapons being used for internal repression in the destination country.
“The Government places great emphasis on contributing to the greatest possible degree of openness on exports of defence materiel, and on the importance of having stringent and comprehensive legislation,” declared Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide.
“These things are crucial if we are to be able to have a broad and well-informed debate on this aspect of Norwegian security policy. By being transparent about our trade in defence materiel, we also send an important signal to the international community,” he concluded.
2011’s export sales of so-called Category A (weapons and ammunition) and Category B (other military material) material accounted for NOK 2.9 billion (about USD 509.9/GBP 319.78 millions) and NOK 720 million (roughly USD 126.62/GBP 79.4 millions), respectively.