France signed arms export contracts worth €6.87 billion (US $8.8 billion) in 2013, up more than 42 percent from the €4.8 billion in the previous year, despite tougher US competition and Russia, according to a report to Parliament released on Sept. 9.
The rise in orders was due to eight contracts worth more than €200 million, compared to three such deals in 2012, with a total of €2.82 billion. That total value was up 81 percent from the previous year, the report said.
“This result boosts the policy of support for exports delivered at the highest level of the state,” the report said.
A separate and detailed study from the Defense Ministry, trade body Conseil des Industries de Defense Françaises and consultancy McKinsey pointed up the economic, labor and technology benefits stemming from export sales.
Arms exports accounted for more than 40,000 direct and indirect jobs, and the French trade deficit would have been 5 to 8 percentage points higher between 2008 and 2013 if it had not been for those foreign arms sales, the study said. The case studies included civil-military technology, such as a carbon composite developed for the M4 ballistic missile to be used for carbon brakes for civilian aircraft.
French military operations in a variety of theaters helped export sales, while small and medium-sized companies played an increasing role in winning foreign deals, the parliamentary report said.