Early this month, Saab Group, which is the largest producer of defence in Sweden, announced its withdrawal from an international trade deal with Venezuela concerning weapons. It must be mentioned that the Swedish company used to be one of the major suppliers of weapons to the South American nation. However, Saab said that it could no longer continue with such an international trade deal.
According to Saab Group, it couldn’t sell anti-tank and anti-aircraft apparatus to the Latin nation because of an arms ban imposed by the US on Venezuela. Under the embargo, defence manufacturers could not sell to Venezuela any weapon, which is made in the US or which has one or more US-made parts. Before the arms coverage, Bofors, which is a subsidiary of Saab Group, had provided the South American country with weapons during the previous twenty years. The recent embargo though has finished the worldwide trade deal on arms between the Swedish firm and Venezuela.
Bofors will officially quit trading weapons with Venezuela on October 1 in compliance with the policy implemented by the US government last May. It must be noted that during the previous decades, Sweden had supplied anti-tank rifles, rocket launchers, and anti-aircraft missiles into Venezuela that amounted to about $150 million. Currently, Venezuela isn’t involved in a new International Trade deal on weapons. However, experts said that President Hugo Chavez would soon discover the need to replace its old weapons and increase its missile supply.
The embassy of the United States in Sweden commended the compliance of the Saab Group to the embargo that barred the trade of weapons to countries that did not fully cooperate with the struggle against terrorism led by the US government. Venezuelan officials were taken by surprise after the new had been released. Defence Minister Raul Isaias Baduel told to reporters that the government wasn’t officially informed by Bofors regarding its withdrawal from the worldwide trade deal on arms. But he said that he would be discussing the matter with Mr. Chavez so as to come up with an official reaction to the news.
After the news came out, a military official stated that Venezuela is also considering to negotiate an international trade deal with Switzerland regarding weapons. He added that although the doorway of Sweden had already closed, other countries would soon open for Venezuela. Although trade between Sweden and Venezuela ended, the latter has found another partner, which is Russia. Recently, Mr. Chavez visited the country where he signed several important trade agreements including the purchase of weapons, military airplanes, and helicopters. Mr. Chavez was able to close the deal because the weapons manufactured in Russia do not contain US-made pieces. Prior to the worldwide trade deal between the two nations, the US had warned Russia not to sell arms to Venezuela. The visit of Mr. Chavez to Russia was part of a series of international trips, which were aimed at seeking trade opportunities and gaining the support of other state regarding Venezuela’s bid to join the UN Security council.