Rising Arms Exports of France: Economic Boost or Ethical Dilemma?

According to the report published by The Guardian, British Newspaper, France paces a significant challenge to Russia as the second biggest arms exporter behind the US. The report also suggests that arms suppliers in France have more international orders than Russia. Similarly, global defense exports by France have risen from 7.1% in 2013-17 to 11% in 2018-22, which shows a 44% increase. On the other hand, France is ranked third arms exporter in the world among the top 10 arms exporters across the globe on the basis of arms exports in 2021. There is no denying the fact that the weapons industry contributes billions of dollars to the economy of France and creates employment opportunities within the country.

There are a number of factors contributing to this rise in arms exports around the world. Let us discuss these factors:

The Surge in Demand for Weapons in Asian, Middle Eastern, and African Regions

There is a significant rise in the demand for arms in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa regions in recent years. There are a number of factors that have contributed to promoting this trend. For example, the modernization of armed forces and unresolved territorial disputes have promoted the demand for sophisticated weapons in these regions.

In the Asian region, particularly in India and Pakistan, the demand for arms and ammunition is on the rise due to historical conflicts between neighboring countries. Similarly, in the Middle East, the demand for weapons is majorly fueled by long-term conflicts and the regional struggle for hegemony to strengthen military superiority. Likewise, the African region is grappling with internal conflicts, terrorism, and organized crimes, which necessitates the acquisition of weapons for self-defense and stability in the region.

The rising sophistication of the French arms industry

The French arms industry has grown in sophistication and technological prowess. France has positioned itself as a global leader in defense technology by supplying a diverse range of advanced weapons ranging from guided missiles and surveillance systems to fighter jets and submarines. France remains at the forefront of the arms industry by offering advanced and technologically superior weapons, as the demand for advanced military equipment worldwide grows.

The active promotion of arms exports by the French government

As a strategic economic endeavor, the French government constantly promotes and supports arms exports around the globe.  The French government has implemented certain policies to encourage and promote arms exports in order to help generate enormous revenue and create a number of employment opportunities in the country.

In order to facilitate arms trade, the French government utilize diplomatic channels and render export financing to the industry. By promoting arms exports France is able to boost its economy as well as gain and maintain its position as a leader in the international arms market. On the other hand, this is also helpful for France to strengthen its defense cooperation with other countries.

Analysis of France’s weapon trade

While France claims to be the champion of human rights, critics argue that arms exports by France massively contribute to human rights abuses and fuel conflict. However, the French government claims that through the implementation of strict policies the arms exports are only sent to countries that respect human rights.

Before moving further let us note some important points that must be considered while evaluating France’s weapon trade.

  • The Kinds of weapons exported by France
  • The countries which Import French weapons
  • Record of human rights of the countries that import France’s weapons
  • Potential conflict and instability caused by arms exports

Let us analyze France’s weapon trade with the help of looking at pros and cons:

The arms industry of France is the major contributor to boosting the economy and creating job opportunitiesArms exports can lead to human rights abuses by importing countries which most probably fuel conflict
The military relationships of France are strengthened with the help of arms exportsArms exports can lead to a potential threat to France being the target of terrorist attacks
To fulfill France’s own defense needs, arms exports can provide enough revenue to boost the arms industryArms exports can potentially damage the reputation of France claiming to be the champion of human rights.

All in all, the weapon trade in France is a complex phenomenon having both advantages and disadvantages. However, It is also important to note that France is not the only country that exports weapons. Considering these factors would be helpful in reaching an appropriate conclusion.



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