WASHINGTON --- Sales of U.S. military equipment to foreign governments rose 33 percent to $55.6 billion in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, a U.S. administration official told Reuters on Tuesday.
The increase in foreign military sales came in part because the Trump administration rolled out a new "Buy American" plan in April that loosened restrictions on sales while encouraging U.S. officials to take a bigger role in increasing business overseas for the U.S. weapons industry.
There are two major ways foreign governments purchase arms from U.S. companies: Direct commercial sales, negotiated between a government and a company; and foreign military sales, where a foreign government typically contacts a Department of Defense official at the U.S. embassy in their capital. Both require approval by the U.S. government.
About $70 billion worth of foreign military sales notifications went to Congress this year, slightly less than the year before, the administration official said.
The $55.6 billion figure represents signed letters of agreement for foreign military sales between the United States and allies.
The largest U.S. arms contractors include Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman.