As you sit down to your morning coffee and flip open your preferred news outlet, you might stumble across a term as enigmatic as it is ominous – “international arms trade.” 

Sounds rather cloak-and-dagger, doesn’t it? It seems to transport you to a world of shadowy dealings and stealthy transactions, one that operates behind a dense veil of secrecy.


What exactly is the international arms trade, though? Imagine a global marketplace, not unlike the one where you buy your groceries or electronics, but instead of fresh produce or the latest smartphone, this marketplace deals in tanks, fighter jets, and missiles. 

In this global ‘supermarket of weaponry,’ nations are sellers and buyers, negotiating multi-billion dollar contracts behind closed doors. 

But unlike your local supermarket, this global marketplace is shrouded in secrecy that could make a spy novel seem bland. Transparency is as scarce as a needle in a haystack. 

Why all the hush-hush? Why do countries insist on keeping these transactions so secretive?

The Sellers: Power Brokers of the World

A handful of powerful nations are at the top of the arms-selling league

The United States, Russia, and China are the heavy hitters, followed closely by France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Together, they’re responsible for over 80% of all weapons sold globally.