Norway’s arms manufacturers have seen a substantial drop in sales as the US continues to cut defence costs. The latest figures from Statistics Norway show that weapons exports dropped to NOK 1.7 billion (228 million) in 2011 and further to just NOK 500 million (EUR 67 million) in 2012. The figures mark a major decline from about NOK 9.4 billion (1.26 billion) seen from 2001 to 2009, when US and NATO operations in Afghanistan boosted sales.
Ronnie Lie, head of corporate communications for Norway’s major arms groups Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace and Nammo, told the media, “We have no extraordinary protection against declining defence budgets, and are seeing reduced demand for arms control stations following reductions in US foreign operations,” the Aftenposten news agency reports.
Meanwhile, the decline shows no sign of slowing as Washington continues to cut spending and as the Obama administration promises to withdraw the majority of US forces by the end of 2014.
Nammo chief executive Edgar Fossheim told Aftenposten reporters that the firm is likely to cut around 20 per cent of its 3,000 workers.
However, he went on to add, “The US defence budget is still almost twice as large as the combined defence budgets of the rest of the NATO and other countries we are dealing with, even with the latest cuts. We’ll be working to further strengthen our position in the US despite these developments.”