Arms Exports at $8.6Bln in 2010, 10% Going to China

Arms exports hit a record high of more than $8.6 billion last year, with China purchasing 10 percent of the total, Rosoboronexport said Wednesday.

The amount was slightly higher than the $8.5 billion of exports in 2009, though it fell short of expected revenues of $10 billion, after Russia failed to close several longstanding weapons deals.

The state-owned company, which has customers ranging from China to

Venezuela, also said its order book was worth almost $40 billion in January 2011.

China accounted for up to 10 percent of Russian arms sales abroad for each of the past three years, said Anatoly Isaikin, the company's director.

Russia is the world's second largest arms exporter. Isaikin said he did not expect the ongoing unrest in the Middle East to have a significant effect on its order book this year.

"We are worried about what is happening there, but the situation in these countries will not significantly affect our order portfolio," Isaikin said.

A leading arms official said last week that Moscow would lose $4 billion in arms deals because of violence in Libya.

Rosoboronexport accounts for between 80 to 90 percent of Russian arms exports, which have risen in recent years as arms buyers seek alternatives to United States weaponry. Many of those clients are opposed to U.S. foreign policy, such as Venezuela, whose arms deals with Russia have angered Washington. Russia has inherited numerous arms relationships from Soviet times.

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