Where does Germany head its exports for?

— Press release —

While some people enjoy the consequences of Coronavirus restrictions, the others are concerned about German economy. According to the Federal Statistical Office, in 2019 exports hardly reached 47%, and imports - 41%. The Corona definitely hit both. Will the export-oriented economy improve? What about our key markets? What can we expect in a few months? Will the globalization pass the coronavirus test? Are there any temporary alternatives for us, while our main trading partners are grappling with the pandemic?

Der Spiegel business journalists investigated the current state of our major international partners.

The USA ranked first with exports valued 118,6 billion euros in 2019. The government will do everything possible before the elections in November 2020 to revive the economy hardly hit by the Corona. Purchasing German cars is out of the question though, until the unemployed Americans find new jobs. The USA nationalization policy militates against long-term development of international investment partnerships.

France and Italy, with 106 and 68,1 billion euros of imports from Germany in 2019 respectively, alongside with Spain suffered the most from the Coronavirus in Europe.

China was the third largest Germany’s customer in 2019 (96 billion euros). The manufacturing industry has recovered rapidly from the Corona crisis and in May 2020 performance exceeded the last year’s values. It could be a good sign for German investment.

Our neighbor, the Netherlands, suffered less than other European countries from the pandemic. But still the growth phase has been interrupted and Rotterdam will probably lose one fifths of its freight traffic. Due to the country’s good credit rating and further emergency measures the Dutch economy should remain a strong partner for us. Moreover, it depends neither from the sale of cars, nor from the tourism.

Great Britain was the fifth of the most important customers for us (78,9 billion of euros), but is now experiencing issues due to the Brexit and faltering trade agreements. The Corona has adversely affected the economy. Even the British economists dare not to make any predictions, because they have not had such a situation in their own lifetime. It seems to be a challenge and probably the chance for the cold Brexit without political consequences for Boris Jonson.  In 2022, however, the economy should return its pre-crisis strength.

Well, what should be done for the German economy? As already mentioned, Germany should expand its efforts in the business area in order to cooperate with China and the Netherlands, which will most likely show an economic stability in the second half of 2020.

Are there currently any other interesting and promising markets? Yes. EU Countries in Eastern Europe, such as Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic. German economy is now closely linked with its eastern neighbors.

Poland has quietly taken the 7th place in terms of imports from Germany. In 2019 that was 65.9 billion euros. Withing 10 years German exports have doubled. The leading country among the Eastern European EU countries had comparatively low rate of the Corona-infections. Although there was a plunge in April due to the lockdown, the experts expect the economy to decline by only 4.3 percent in 2020 and to show further strong growth in 2021. According to “Der Spiegel”, Hungary is more important for German economy than Denmark or Japan. At the same time, the Czech Republic is more important at the moment than Russia. Nevertheless, Russia offers a high potential for some industries with its official environment and infrastructure program.  


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