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Agence France-Presse

US Expands Sales of Arms: Report

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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.

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.

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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