China overtakes U.S., France as Germany’s most important trading partner

By Rene Wagner and Michael Nienaber | BERLIN Thu Feb 23, 2017 | 6:18pm EST

China for the first time became Germany’s most important trading partner in 2016, overtaking the United States, which fell back to third place behind France, data showed on Friday.

German imports from and exports to China rose to 170 billion euros ($180 billion) last year, Federal Statistics Office figures reviewed by Reuters showed.

The development is likely to be welcomed by the German government, which has made it a goal to safeguard global free trade after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on imports and his top adviser on trade accused Germany of exploiting a weak euro to boost exports.

German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has even suggested that the European Union should refocus its economic policy toward Asia, should the Trump administration pursue protectionism.

“Given the protectionist plans of the new U.S. president one would expect that the trade ties between Germany and China will be further strengthened,” Germany’s BGA trade association said in response to the shift.

Neighboring France remained the second-most important business partner with a combined trade volume of 167 billion euros. The United States came in third with 165 billion euros.

In 2015, the United States became the top trading partner for Germany, overtaking France for the first time since 1961 thanks to an upturn in the U.S. economy and a weaker euro.

Looking at exports alone, the United States remained the biggest client for products “Made in Germany” in 2016, importing goods from Europe’s biggest economy worth some 107 billion euros.

France remained the second-most important single export destination for German goods with a sum of 101 billion euros, the data showed. Britain came in third, importing German goods worth 86 billion euros.

Britain accounted also for the biggest bi-lateral trade surplus: Exports surpassed imports from Britain by more than 50 billion euros, the figures showed.

The United States came in second with a bi-lateral trade deficit: German exports to the U.S. surpassed imports from there by 49 billion euros.

This means that Britain and the U.S. together accounted for roughly 40 percent of Germany’s record trade surplus of 252.9 billion euros in 2016.

The figures are likely to fuel the debate about Germany’s export performance, its trade surplus and global economic imbalances ahead of a meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors in Baden-Baden mid-March.

(Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

Source: Reuters “China overtakes U.S., France as Germany’s most important trading partner”

Note: This is Reuters report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


2 Comments on “China overtakes U.S., France as Germany’s most important trading partner”

  1. Fugu says:

    The signs are obvious : That “great hypocrite” Obama passed on an America to Trump that is in even greater debt, and even more broke than ever. The U.S. is bankrupt. It survives on printed money to pay off its debts which is unbelievable. If that isn’t the biggest fraud and currency rigging ever in the history of this world, it will be hard to imagine what is.

    What is further obvious is that Germany continues to rise while the U.S. and Britain continues to decline; Perhaps Britain less so.

    The moral of the lesson here continues to be : Trade prospers, war impoverishes but enriches a few at the expense of the rest.

    Germany has got its policy right. Trade with China can only benefit her as in the case of many countries which has adopted similar policies. Britain, the late comer too. Most important however, their countries are NOT owned and controlled by Capitalists – they – the few oligarchs – who owns monetary wealth, who owns the country. They call the shots because Money talks. Yes, the United States of America.

    Whether Mr Trump can reverse the U.S.’s steep slide is questionable as the mercantilist U.S. is now paying the price for a wrong misbegotten governance ideology and policy.

    Germany sailing on the economic winds of the growing behemoth China, will increase in strength and influence as the central state in a Europe that is fast becoming a power bloc in its own right. What can Mr Trump or America do if Germany, France, Holland, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Spain, and the rest of Europe refuse to cough up the money for NATO? Withdraw U.S.’s support?

    Oh, happy days if it does so. Europe at once, will be free and sovereign again. Out of America’s shadows and colonial vassal status. And free to pursue more trade with China and Russia. How interesting to witness a hegemonic U.S. choking and strangling itself by unilaterally reducing trade and business with all the major countries in the world. Especially China and Russia.

    But it certain that is not what Mr Trump wants. He knows they have only to choice : Either grow your business to get out of bankruptcy or institute massive austerity measures. Berlin has decided on the former with London following. Let’s see what megalomaniacal hegemon Washington elects to do.


  2. Steve says:

    The US is declining and irreversible. Could be a warning sign that a momentous event is likely to happen as in economic and financial turmoil.?