International trade adds vitality to industry.

Author:Thurman, Russ

In the world of business, international trade plays an increasingly important role in the U.S. firearms industry. A substantial number of firearms sold in the U.S. are imported, while a growing number of U.S. companies seek to sell their firearms overseas. In addition, a seemingly incalculable number of other industry-related products are part of the import/export mix.

In this month's "U.S. Firearms Industry Today" report (p. 32), we highlight U.S. firearms manufacturing, along with U.S. exports, based on data from the ATF. In addition, we present firearm imports by country for 2014 and 2015 from data of the U.S. Foreign Trade Division (pp. 40-42).

U.S. firearm exports have grown a modest amount in recent years, while firearm imports--which far outdistance U.S. exports numbers--continue to increase, but in unpredictable fashion. Despite continuing elevated U.S. domestic sales and demand for U.S. firearms overseas, the international firearms business continues to have its ups and downs.

NSSF reports, citing U.S. International Trade Commission data, that during the first two months of this year, handgun, rifle and shotgun imports increased 24.42 percent, compared to January and February 2015. In exports, those categories dropped 15.81 percent during the same period.

With a goal to increase international business within the industry, NSSF has instituted programs to help both exporters and importers.

Growing Firearms Trade

The SHOT Show is the epicenter for industry business in the U.S. An impressive number of international businesses from 100 countries exhibit at the mega trade show.

For a number of years at SHOT Show, NSSF has provided opportunities for U.S.-based SHOT Show exhibitors to meet with international industry specialists to increase their export businesses. In addition, NSSF has offered a program to promote U.S. firearms businesses and products to foreign delegates throughout the show.

For SHOT Show 2017, NSSF again will offer an international program, with details to be announced later this year.

"NSSF's goal is to increase international buyer attendance at SHOT by 5 to 10 percent annually," said Chris Dolnack, NSSF senior VP and CMO.

In Europe, the IWA OutdoorClassics in Nuremberg, Germany, is much like SHOT. In March, IWA held its 43rd annual show, with nearly 1,500 exhibitors and more than 45,000 attendees. Of the 56 countries represented at the event, Germany, the U.S. and Italy accounted for the highest...

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