"All large defense contractors in Germany are assessing whether they
can stay in the country in the long run," Armin Papperger, the chief
executive of Rheinmetall and head the German defense industry
association, was quoted as saying by newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung
Earlier this year, Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said he would
tighten rules on arms exports, curbing sales to states such as Qatar
and Saudi Arabia, whose purchases had previously helped make Germany
the world's third largest arms exporter.
In August, Germany permanently halted Rheinmetall's planned export
of combat simulation equipment to Russia, going beyond newly-imposed
European Union sanctions which block future defense contracts.
Papperger told Sueddeutsche new restrictions left arms manufacturers
with the choice of cutting output and jobs or moving production
"Other countries such as Switzerland, France and the United States
would be happy for us to invest there. There, we could export more
easily," he was quoted as saying.
The defense industry, which employs some 80,000 people in Germany,
has strongly criticized the stricter rules.
[to top of second column]
The chief executive of aerospace and defense group Airbus earlier
this month said Germany's restrictive arms export policy could deter
international cooperation on future defense projects.
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Rosalind Russell)
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