Belgium and the Trade in Arms
Even though Belgium is a small country, it does play a role in international trade in conventional arms. According to SIPRI, for 1998-2007, Belgium ranked 20 in the list of the largest arms exporters. Moreover, some Belgian industries, for instance FN Herstal in Wallonia or Barco in Flanders, have a position of worldwide leadership in some arms markets and associated technologies.
However, on several occasions, Belgium has also defended pioneers and decisive positions to improve the instruments for arms control. Belgium was the first country to acknowledge the binding nature of the European Code of Conduct on arms exports by incorporating it in its legislation in 2003. Belgium played a prominent role in the adoption of the Ottawa Treaty on anti-personnel mines (1995) and of the International treaty to ban cluster munitions (2008).
GRIP undertakes a permanent critical analysis of the Belgian politics in the field of production, trade in arms and possession of weapons. GRIP updates two databases; the first one on arms transfers in Belgium, and the second one on key figures for the arms industry in Belgium.
* Until 2002, federal reports are on total transfers for Belgium. Since 2003 and the regionalisation plan, only the transfers under the competence of the federal (the army and the police) are concerned.