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Global Economy

Germany's economy depends on China

China was Germany's most important trading partner for the sixth time in a row last year. Goods worth 245.4 billion euros were traded between the two countries in 2021, according to the Federal Statistical Office. Turnover in foreign trade with China increased by 15.1 percent compared to 2020. The Netherlands and the USA followed in second and third place as the most important trading partners.

China's importance is growing steadily

China was by far the most important importer of goods to Germany. In 2021, goods worth 141.7 billion euros were imported from China, 20.8 percent more than in the previous year. China's importance for German imports is growing steadily. In 1980, the People's Republic was still in 35th place, but China has been at the top of the list since 2015. In the list of the most important buyer countries, China ranks second with 103.6 billion, an increase of 8.1 percent compared to 2020.

For the People's Republic of China, foreign trade in 2021 showed an import surplus: Overall, the value of goods imported from China exceeded the value of goods exported there by 38.1 billion euros.

Huge export surplus

Most German exports went to the USA in 2021, as has been the case since 2015. In 2021, goods worth 122.1 billion euros were exported there, around 18 percent more than in the previous year. France takes third place with 102.3 billion euros or plus 12.6 percent. Germany achieved the highest export surpluses in 2021 with the United States (50.0 billion euros), France (40.0 billion euros) and the United Kingdom (33.3 billion euros).

What is striking about the current statistics is the dwindling importance of Great Britain as a German trading partner. At tenth place, the United Kingdom achieved its lowest position in the trade ranking since calculations began in 1950. In 2021, foreign trade turnover fell by 4.6 percent compared to 2020, while foreign trade with most countries in 2021 showed a significant increase compared to recorded in the previous year. Russia ranks 13th with almost 60 billion euros.

Cars come, cars go

In 2021, the main imports to Germany were data processing equipment, electrical and optical products, which reached a value of 127.7 billion. Cars and car parts with a value of 113.8 billion euros ranked second among the most important imported goods. Chemical products with a value of 93.3 billion euros took third place.

In 2021, vehicles and vehicle parts worth 209.4 billion euros were also exported, an increase of 11.6 percent. In second and third place were machines with a value of 194.4 billion euros and chemical products with a value of 136.3 billion euros.

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