France Looks to Regain Export Prominence
“Russian Arms Exports Taking Another Jump in 2008” noted the recovery of Russia’s arms industry, which faces significant rebuilding challenges but appears to be on track to surpass the $7.4 billion worth of deals signed in 2007. As “France Trying to Streamline Arms Exports” explained, a cumbersome system was dragging another key exporter down. Aviation Week’s DTI reports that the reforms are having some effect. France’s defense ministry reported that it had signed off on nearly EUR 4 billion in export contracts by the end of Q3 2008, and is on track to meet its 2008 goal of EUR 6 billion. That’s slightly above previous years, and almost double the nadir reached in 2004. Defense Minister Hervé Morin says that France’s long-term goal is to regain the share of the export market it enjoyed during the 1990s, and recover to 13% or about EUR 10 billion by 2010.
Key losses in Saudi Arabia and Morocco appear to have stung France’s bureaus into action. Morin credits some of the improved performance to MNA Yves Fromion’s approval reforms, which lengthened general approvals’ duration, discarded them for deals under EUR 150,000, and streamlined the application process. Morin says that wait times have dropped by over 60% to just 30 days on average, with 97% of applications now processed within a month and 20% of contracts given expedited treatment. The reforms also created an inter-ministerial committee to handle major deals, with 67 deals approved by the committee in the last 16 months. Morin is cautiously optimistic that contracts with Libya and Brazil can be signed before year’s end.
These improvements in Russia and France’s export efforts are somewhat complementary, given their defense industry links. Defense industry players in the USA, UK, and Israel can expect tougher competition at the global industry’s medium-high end. DTI, via Military.com | Reuters Africa.