According to the latest Finnish Arms Control Report by independent think tank SaferGlobe, Finland granted export permits for nearly 140 million euros worth of military vehicle parts to the UAE in March 2020.
The report revealed that the value of Finnish arms exports fell sharply last year compared to previous years, and the UAE deal accounted for a significant majority of the country’s total arms exports—29.8 million out of a total of 160.9 million euros—in 2020.
SaferGlobe also found that the value of civilian arms exports exceeded that of military exports for the first time ever last year. Finland exported 81.1 million euros worth of civilian arms and 79.9 million worth of military materials in 2020.
The think tank, which has been monitoring and reporting on Finland’s arms exports since 2010, defines military material as “a product or service which has been planned, manufactured or sold specifically for military use,” and civilian arms as “a product or service, which has been planned, manufactured and sold specifically for consumer use.”
While previous export permits for military products were only valid for a term of two years, the permits Finland has granted the UAE for vehicle parts are notable for their exceptionally long validity: the permit for vehicle axles is valid until the end of 2039 and the permit for gearboxes until the end of 2050.
Calidus, a UAE based-company, is the recipient of the exported parts and uses them to assemble military vehicles. The UAE has come under fire for its role in ongoing conflicts in Yemen as well as Libya.
In 2018, Finland’s foreign ministry announced the suspension of arms exports to the UAE due to the latter’s involvement in the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. While the UAE has said that it has ceased military activities in Yemen, experts have claimed otherwise.