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German firearm giant Heckler & Koch has finally given up selling firearms to countries that are not NATO Members or NATO Partners following years of concerted effort by the German government to hamstring the company’s export sales. Reuters reports

The HK416F variant adopted by the French Army. Note the specialized bayonet lug apparently designed for launching rifle grenades. Image source: sofrep.com

The HK416F variant adopted by the French Army. Note the specialized bayonet lug apparently designed for launching rifle grenades. Image source: sofrep.com

German arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch will no longer sign contracts to supply countries outside of NATO’s influence because it has become too difficult to obtain government approval for such deals, news agency DPA reported on Monday.

The company, one of the world’s best-known gunmakers, will in future only sell to countries that are democratic and free from corruption and that are members of NATO or NATO members’ partners, DPA said, citing company sources.

It said this change in strategy would rule out deals with countries such as Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Brazil, India or even NATO member Turkey.

 

In 2014 the German Minister for Economic Affairs announced they the Government was determined to cut arms exports. The following year former employees of the company were arrested for exporting firearms to Mexico. Earlier this year a German court ordered a halt to firearm sales and transfer of technical information to Saudi Arabia.

Countries that neither are NATO Members or Partners include all of South America, Central America, Africa (excluding a few Mediterranean states in North Africa), most of the Central Asia and the Pacific region (including Philippines, India and China). This creates substantial opportunities for Chinese, Russian and Israeli small arms exporters who have been competing with H&K.

What is not clear is if civilian sales are included in this ban. H&K has previously exported consumer firearms to countries such as South Africa

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