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US Expands Sales of Arms: Report

WASHINGTON - The United States expanded its role as the worlds leading weapons supplier, increasing its share to more than two-thirds of all foreign armaments deals, The New York Times reported.

Citing a new congressional study, the newspaper said the United States signed weapons agreements valued at 37.8 billion dollars last year, or 68.4 percent of all business in the global arms bazaar.

File photo shows Iraqi soldiers holding new rifles distributed by US forces. The United States expanded its role as the worlds leading weapons supplier, increasing its share to more than two-thirds of all foreign armaments deals, The New York Times reported. The figure marked a significant increase from US arms sales of 25.4 billion dollars the year before, the paper noted.

Italy was a distant second, with 3.7 billion dollars in worldwide weapons sales in 2008, while Russia was third with 3.5 billion dollars in arms sales last year -- down considerably from the 10.8 billion in weapons deals signed by Moscow in 2007, the report pointed out.

The growth in weapons sales by the United States last year was particularly noticeable against worldwide trends, The Times said.

The value of global arms sales in 2008 was 55.2 billion dollars, a drop of 7.6 percent from 2007 and the lowest total for international weapons agreements since 2005, according to the report.

The increase in American weapons sales around the world "was attributable not only to major new orders from clients in the Near East and in Asia, but also to the continuation of significant equipment and support services contracts with a broad-based number of US clients globally," the paper quotes the study produced by the Congressional Research Service.

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