The US is no longer Germany’s most important trade partner, but China, fresh figures from the statistics office have suggested. With Washington now pursuing a protectionist agenda, that’s unlikely to change.
In 2016, China for the first time became Germany’s most important trading partner, toppling the United States, which fell back to third place behind France.
German imports from and exports to China rose to 170 billion euros ($180 billion), Reuters reported after reviewing figures from the National Statistics Office (Destatis).
The development may be seen in a positive light in Berlin, with the German government coming out as a supporter of global free trade after US President Donald Trump threatened to impose hefty tariffs on imports and his top adviser on trade accused Germany of exploiting a weak euro to boost shipments abroad.
Forging new alliances
Germany’s neighbor, France, remained the second most important business partner for Germany with a combined trade volume of 167 billion euros, followed by the US with a volume of 165 billion euros.
Looking at exports alone, the US remained in the top spot, being the biggest client for products from Europe’s powerhouse in 2016. Britain accounted for the biggest bilateral trade surplus, with exports surpassing imports from the UK by more than 50 billion euros.
This means that Britain and the US together accounted for about 40 percent of Germany’s record trade surplus of 252.9 billion euros last year.
hg/jd (Reuters, Handelsblatt)