Military goods

The trade in military goods is a complex and sensitive subject, where various interests converge. This trade is not banned for economic reasons, political considerations and security needs. A control system with compulsory licences, however, allows for taking into account ethical considerations, security aspects, human rights and conflict prevention.

The term 'military goods' comprises a diverse array of goods: from revolvers and machine guns, as well as helicopters and missiles to components for tanks or fighter planes. These goods are also known as 'military items' or simply as 'arms'. In Flanders the industry mainly produces and exports high-technological components for larger weapons systems. These include, for instance, military monitors, night vision equipment, aircraft parts or electronic parts.

In a federalised Belgium the foreign arms trade is a regional competence. The Flemish Government thus issues the export licenses and is in charge of implementing policy. Flemish Parliament monitors the policy, determines legislation and is responsible for democratic control.

The Peace Institute examines legislation and policy in terms of foreign trade and military equipment and monitors the production and trade in Flanders in actual facts and figures. In this frame, the Institute analyses the figures related to the import, export, and transit of military equipment during the past year in its annual report. Special emphasis is placed on the end use of such goods. Furthermore, the Institute also devotes special attention to the European Union's policy: the development of a unified defence market and the European agreements on export control.


  • Embedded thumbnail for Van Vlaamse makelij: het eindgebruik van Vlaams militair materieel
    Van Vlaamse makelij: het eindgebruik van Vlaams militair materieel
  • Embedded thumbnail for Jaarrapport: Vlaamse buitenlandse wapenhandel 2011
    Jaarrapport: Vlaamse buitenlandse wapenhandel 2011


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