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COVID-19 and lack of big-money deals hit French exports in 2020

7th June 2021 - 17:01 GMT | by Jean-Marc Tanguy in Paris

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Morocco ordered 300 VLRA vehicles in late 2020; pictured recently is a vehicle in final production. (Photo: Jean-Marc Tanguy)

Official figures show that French defence equipment export orders took a big hit last year.

French defence companies recorded a 40% year-on-year slump in overseas orders to €4.9 billion ($5.97 billion) in 2020, according to the latest annual report provided by the MoD to parliament on 2 June.

However, strong demand for Rafale is driving a rebound in 2021.

MoD spokesman Hervé Grandjean attributed the sharp fall mainly to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, although the decrease accelerated a recent trend: in 2019, exports decreased by 8.5%.

Grandjean explained that multiple small contracts characterised sales to overseas customers in 2020, as no major deals exceeded €500 million ($609 million).

‘This absence is

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