Norway signs UN arms trade treaty

“Norway has worked systematically to bring about such a treaty. It is now crucial that as many countries as possible sign and ratify the treaty so that it enters into force as quickly as possible,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.  

State Secretary Gry Larsen is to sign the treaty on behalf of Norway, along with representatives from a number of other countries, at a signing ceremony at UN Headquarters in New York. The agreement will enter into force after 50 states have ratified it.

“The arms trade treaty is an important step in the right direction when it comes to reducing armed violence and the serious human suffering caused by the illegal and irresponsible trade in weapons,” Eide said. 

The new treaty covers a wide range of conventional weapons, including ammunition and parts and components of conventional weapons. The treaty also includes important prohibitions and criteria relating to export licences, violations of international humanitarian law, international human rights, organised crime, terrorism in importing states and gender-based violence. 

“Norway will work to ensure that the arms trade treaty is implemented effectively, and that there is a focus on the humanitarian aspects of the arms trade. It is crucial that the treaty gains global acceptance and that it sets a new international standard. In the years ahead, we will seek to strengthen the treaty, both in specific areas and by keeping it up to date as regards technological developments in the weapons field,”  Eide said.

Norway was the fourth largest exporter in 2008

According to the UN database for external trade (UN Comtrade), Norway was the fourth largest exporter of military equipment in 2008. This was the highest ranking the country has ever had. The Norwegian contribution in terms of export values that year accounted for 5.7 per cent of the world’s total export of weapons and arms. In 2009, the last available year in the UN database, Norway fell to sixth place, the same position as in 2007. The top three major weapons exporters have for many years been the USA, Canada and Italy. With exports amounting to USD 4.4 billion, the USA clearly stands out from the rest. This corresponds to around NOK 26 billion, which is close to 40 per cent of the total registered global weapons export in 2009.

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