To me it appears their small arms designers have a more or less free reign to attempt new designs and markets. This is doubly so since they aren't the hard cash capital of the world over there so the more entrepreneurial they get the more bacon they can bring home.
On the other hand, our small arms designers are mostly shackled with squirrely Department of Defense whims or the increasingly restrictive private market. We've got to practically get an act of Congress before we can sell to most foreign countries. So who would bother to be a small arms designer in our environment?
4V50 Gary: I'm sure you already knew this but the Russians redesigned the AK-47 slightly in the 1950s into the AKM (stamped steel receiver), so even they need improvement from time to time. However they ARE doing a lot more than our designers lately.