A visitor holds a SAM launcher during the LAAD 2017 Defence and Security expo, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on April 4, 2017. / AFP / YASUYOSHI CHIBA
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Brazil is on the sidelines of today's wars, but at a Rio defense fair this week the South American gentle giant eagerly sought to sell weapons to anyone else who may need to fight. Brazilian companies account for 150 of the roughly 650 brands on display at the LAAD defense industry exhibition in Rio de Janeiro, ranging from cargo planes to tracer bullets. They're the standard-bearers of an industry estimated to be worth around 200 billion reais ($65 billion) a year, or 3.7 percent of gross domestic product – and which center-right President Michel Temer wants to grow. At first glance, the defense and security industry, which directly employs 30,000 people and indirectly 120,000, according to industry figures, might seem a strange fit for Brazil.Brazilian officials say that all weapons exports are rigorously monitored and regulated.Mauricio Lima, representing the SIMDE defense industry union at the arms fair, said Brazil can feel good about its ambitions.
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