When U.S. businesses think of top international trading partners, they rightly often turn their attention to the Asia-Pacific region. But while China does rank as our top trading partner in both exports and imports, and while Japan and South Korea are not far behind, some might be surprised to find that Germany ranks extremely high on the list, and the highest among European Union (EU) member nations.
Let’s take a closer look at the numbers: the German economy is the world’s fourth largest, and it accounts for one-fifth of the European Union’s GDP, according to Export.gov. Germany is not only the largest European trading partner for the United States; it is also the sixth largest overall market for U.S. exports. With a population of approximately 81.4 million, the country offers a large consumer audience for American goods, and a highly trained workforce for businesses looking to invest or expand operations in Europe.
Businesses in the following sectors will likely be successful in Germany because these are some of the top products that Germany imports, according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity: computers, broadcasting equipment, coffee, non-knit men’s suits, cheese, leather footwear, seats, vehicle parts and packaged medicaments. Here is a full list of what Germany imports.
For businesses considering entry into the German marketplace, it is also essential to understand both the political and regulatory environments in the country. Ultimately, the country’s regulatory environment is strict but fair, and the right logistics and shipping partner can help navigate the complex regulations and procedures necessary to bring goods to market. Safety standards in Germany, for example, are rigorous and complex, and exporters must understand exactly which rules apply to their products. Export.gov’s trade and customs background is a good place for businesses to begin their research.
In an era when e-commerce continues to expand, it’s fortuitous to know that Germany possesses one of the highest internet access rates in the EU. Moreover, according to the DHL Global Connectedness Index, Germany is one of the most connected countries in the world, as measured by cross-border flows of trade, capital, information and people. (Overall, Europe is the most globally connected region of the world, with eight of the 10 most connected countries.) Also, Germany is home to some of the world’s largest trade events, including MEDICA and CeBIT, and is therefore a global trade and deal-making hub.
Germany offers many compelling, attractive reasons why your business may want to considering trading there, or amplifying the trade that you already conduct with the country. Is your business considering Germany as an e-commerce customer? Let us know on Twitter @DHLUS.