Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 10/2013

China's Exports of Small Arms and Light Weapons

Mark Bromley, Mathieu Duchâtel, paul holtom

October 2013

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute


China is a leading exporter of small arms and lights weapons (SALW) and is a popular supplier among states looking for inexpensive or alternative sources of SALW. While China has stated its commitment to preventing the illicit trade in SALW and formally recognizes the destabilizing effect that SALW transfers can have, it is one of the least transparent arms exporters. This report is the first to comprehensively map Chinese policies and practices for controlling SALW transfers. The authors use their expertise in arms transfers and Chinese foreign policy to describe China’s involvement in multilateral SALW control inititatives, detail its administrative system for granting export licences and map the destinations of Chinese SALW exports. This timely and detailed report will prove to be a useful resource for future studies of China's evolving approach to the control of SALW transfers.