SOFF has been a long-term supporter of the effort to put a globally binding agreement in place that would control trade in conventional weapons. Therefore it is extremely gratifying that the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) now is in place. Many countries have had their own strict national regulations for defence materiel exports of conventional weapons for a long time as Sweden has, and thus they are not affected by the new agreement. But there are also countries where these regulations are nearly nonexistent. This paves the way for unwanted and illegal trade in these weapons, which could be used for internal oppression for example, as well as destabilising security policy. In the long term the treaty will make trade in conventional weapons difficult for countries and companies that act irresponsibly, while quite likely strengthening confidence in the legitimate defence materiel trade that takes place in Sweden for security and defence policy reasons.
Trade of defense products and services
Strict and thorough export controls and success in the international defence market go hand in hand. Sweden has one of the strictest export control regulations in the world, which guarantees technology transfers with important partner countries such as the US and the UK.
The concept of a “level playing field” also encompasses a need for all of the EU’s member countries to apply similar export control regulations in order to implement the development of a common market in this area. It should also be kept in mind that as a result of globalisation and consolidation, transnational companies will have the ability in practice to export the same system or product from different countries if export conditions differ from these countries’ point of view. This would distort the competitive landscape, and would have negative consequences for the countries that employ the most ambitious export control regulations.