French arms exports to be worth over $10 bn in 2009

Paris, Nov 15 ( French arms exports will be worth seven billion euros (about $10 billion) in 2009, making it the fourth biggest weapons exporter worldwide, media reports said.

Laurent Collet-Billon, head of the General Delegation for Ordnance (DGA), government procurement agency, told French daily Le Monde that France will remain the fourth biggest arms exporter worldwide in 2009.

Despite the economic crisis, the 2009 global ordnance market will grow to 700 billion euros, the newspaper said on its website Saturday.

France’s arms export is expected to increases by more than 10 percent from a year earlier and is likely to keep growing in 2010, Xinhua reported citing the daily.

French arms export totalled 6.3 billion euros in 2008, making it the fourth biggest exporter, after the US, Britain and Russia.

Laurent attributed the growth in 2009 to the sale of Rafale combat jets, adding that France hopes to reach an agreement with Brazil on the Rafale jets deal at the beginning of 2010.

France is also in negotiations with the United Arab Emirates on Rafale jets sale.