Blow for Flemish defence industry

There has been a big drop in the number of military products that Flanders is exporting. Last year 200 million euros worth of arms were exported. The previous year the figure was 320 million euros.

The latest figures are contained in a new report from the Flemish authorities. Nils Duquet of the Flemish Peace Institute, who examines arms import and export figures, says that arms export levels have fallen back to 2006 levels.

"The defence industry usually works with long term contracts. As a result the impact of the crisis is only felt much later. As far as the Flemish defence industry is concerned, our companies mainly supply components to large arms systems. These components form part of a production process that takes several years and the impact of the crisis is only now being felt."

Flanders doesn't export arms in the strictest sense of the word. It does e.g. export monitors that are installed in the cockpit of fighter jets.

Last year the Flemish authorities didn't refuse any export licences, but several transit licences were not issued. One of these licences was for a shipment of arms from France to Egypt.