April 25, 2014 4:37 pm
Updated: April 25, 2014 5:05 pm

Canada opening heavy arms sales to Chile, Peru

Pedro Cateriano, Peru's Minister of Defence, welcomes Prime Minister Stephen Harper upon his arrival in Lima, Peru on Tuesday, May 21, 2013.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press
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Canadian arms manufacturers may now export automatic weapons and other military equipment to Chile and Peru, following amendments that came into place this week to Canada’s Automatic Firearms Country Control List (AFCCL).

The AFCCL is a list of 34 countries, including all NATO member countries, eligible for importation of certain military-grade weapons from Canada.

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The order adding Chile and Peru to the list came into effect on April 10, and appeared in The Canada Gazette on April 23.

“The amendment to the AFCCL will add Chile and Peru to the list of countries that the Governor in Council deems appropriate to export certain prohibited firearms, prohibited weapons and prohibited devices, and their components or parts,” says the notice.

“The inclusion of Chile and Peru on the AFCCL does not guarantee that the Minister of Foreign Affairs will issue an export permit for the export of these items, and all applications will remain subject to the Government of Canada’s case-by-case review process.”

The notice says an objective of the amendments is to open “new market opportunities for Canadian exporters.”

Postmedia News reported in January that a secret briefing note presented to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird in June 2013 included Chile and Peru as two countries to be added to the list, along with Brazil and South Korea, “in response to reduced demand for Canadian-made weapons in ‘traditional markets’ like the U.S. and Britain.”

Wednesday’s notice says the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Defence held public online consultations in July and August 2013 regarding the possible addition of Chile and Peru to the list.

The notice says there were three responses. One was “in support of the proposed additions”, one contained “a general declaration of concern with Chile and Peru being added to the AFCCL”, and a third raised “a specific concern regarding Peru.”

“The latter concern noted in the public consultation is the potential risk of diversion of small arms and light weapons to illegal armed groups in Peru,” says the notice.

“The Government of Canada is of the view that despite the existence of some risk, the Government of Peru has made some excellent progress in recent years with regards to improving its control and tracking of its arms stockpiles,” says the notice.

A report released last month by Peru’s national arms regulator says 1,767 firearms were declared lost or stolen in Peru in 2013.

During a visit to Peru in May 2013, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Canadian Commercial Corporation and Peru’s Ministry of Defense.

The last country to be added to the AFCCL was the Republic of Colombia in December 2012.

Within a month of Colombia being added to the list, General Dynamics Land Systems Canada had signed a $65 million deal with the Colombian Ministry of National Defence to provide them with 24 light armoured vehicles.

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