The Netherlands is one of the biggest arms exporters in the world, based on exports per head of the population, according to new figures from Swedish institute Sipri and quoted in the Volkskrant.
Only Israel and Sweden export more weapons per head of the population, Sipri says. In terms of total exports, the Netherlands is in sixth place, with the US, Russia and France in the top three positions.
The high Dutch position is due to shipbuilders Damen Shipyards and the former Hollandse Signal operation in Hengelo which makes radar apparatus and is now owned by French firm Thales.
Frank Slijper of the Campaign against the Arms Trade told the Volkskrant that the export of navy ships in particular has soared partly due to the trend towards small, fast boats which the Dutch excel in producing.
He estimates that around one third of Dutch weapons exports relates to second hand equipment.
MPs are due to debate the arms export licence system on Wednesday following concerns about exports to African and Arab countries where the populations are now protesting about their undemocratic governments.
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