PARIS --- French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian submitted to Parliament on Nov. 22 the annual report on French defence exports. Even as France remains one of the world’s five top weapons exporters, the report marks the government’s intention of improving transparency and rigorous export controls.
The report was submitted by the minister to Parliament. It examines France’s place in the world market for defence equipment, describes the government’s policies and intentions, notably in the field of the regulation and control of arms exports.
“With 6.5 billion of export orders booked in 2011, France maintains its rank as one of the world’s largest exporters of defence equipment,” the minister states in the document’s preface. “This also illustrates our willingness to improve the transparency and the rigorous controls of this sensitive sector, as well as our intention of more closely involving Parliament in this aspect of our foreign policies,” the minister added.
The minister also stressed the requirement for France to have a strong industrial and technological base in the defence sector, “which is a necessity to ensure our strategic autonomy and the credibility of our armed forces.”
It is also a major economic issue, in terms of employment as well as for the preparation of the future, in a sector which employs 165,000 people, including 20,000 highly skilled engineers and technicians in research and development.
The competitiveness of our export industry, based on its high level of technology, must be maintained. It requires strong support to the thousands of small businesses that are a major source of innovation for our equipment.
It is for this reason that I will put in place a plan for SMEs in the defense sector, which will consist of several components, including facilitating access to tenders of the Ministry of Defence as well as measures to strengthen their export activities.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The amount of new orders booked in 2011 is higher than in 2010, when it reached 5.1 billion €, but substantially lower than in 2009, when the total was 8.16 billion €. Deliveries, however, have for the third year running hovered around 3.7 billion €, signaling a much lower volume of goods actually exported compared to the order intake.)
Click here for the full report (109 PDF pages, in French) on the French MoD website.