GPBS – The Arms Deal campaign – asking for a 10% tax on the global arms trade


The Campaign is calling for governments of arms producing companies to levy a 10% tax on the profit that is made from international arms exports. By contributing to the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals the funds resulting from the tax would help rebuild the lives of those around the world that have suffered from the devastating international arms trade, reduce conflict and poverty, promote peace, and strengthen human security.


The trade in arms is predominately a North to South dynamic, weapons flow from Northern arms manufacturers to countries in the Global South frequently facilitated by lax regulation governing the international trade in arms. Northern manufacturers of arms make huge profits from their trade to Southern states but bear no responsibility for the devastation their products cause in many of the poorest regions of the world. By directing some of the profits arms producers make through international exports to the promotion of peace initiatives that help the progress of the UN MDGs and strengthening human security, arms manufacturers and the governments that sanction arms export licenses can provide practical help to address the damage these weapons cause.

The Strategy

Stage 1 – Years 2011-2014
Initially the Arms Deal campaign will strategically target 3 countries (France, Germany and the UK) as the focus of campaigning and advocacy work in efforts to successfully adopt and implement the Arms Deal tax. Mass public engagement is an essential component of the initial phase of the Arms Deal campaign and leading advertising and campaign agency Saatchi & Saatchi is developing a strategy to achieve this, along with a viral music campaign that is also being put together to achieve massive momentum. Public engagement will work in parallel with the Arms Deal Policy/Advocacy group that will consist of high profile lobbyists working with governments and other decision makers on strengthening support for the campaign. The adoption and implementation of the Arms Deal tax by one state will signify the end of the first stage of the campaign.
Stage 2
The first state to adopt and implement the arms tax will represent a key phase of the campaign supporting and building on ongoing advocacy and campaigning work resulting in a domino effect that will:

  • ¬†provide strong political support for the campaign
  • ¬†demonstrate the Arms Deal is feasible, workable and beneficial
  • ¬†devalue arguments against the Arms Deal made by opponents and sceptics

Stage 3 – Years 2014 onwards
The adoption of an Arms Deal tax by subsequent states

Projected outcome

To build awareness globally of the costs and consequences of arms exports, and support governments to impose a tax on arms exports.

Project Leader

Bruce Millar, arms control campaigner