Germany is the third largest exporter and importer in the world, accounting for more than half of the European Union’s international trade. Since January 1 1995, Germany has been a part of the World Trade Organisation, existing both as an individual nation and as part of the EU (known officially as the European Communities in the WTO until 30 November 2009).
Much of Germany’s exports focuses on industrially produced goods and services. In particular German mechanical engineering products, vehicles, and chemicals are highly valued internationally. Around one euro in four is earned from exports and more than every fifth job depends directly or indirectly on foreign trade.
Exports of goods and services also made up about 52 percent of its GDP. Significantly, EU integration has greatly intensified intra-European trade, with about 69 percent of German exports shipped to European countries and 58.2 percent delivered to member states of the EU.
Within the EU itself, Germany's most important trading partner continues to be France (9.5 percent of total exports). Meanwhile 7.9 percent of German exports went to the US in 2012 and 6.6 percent to the UK.
Most of the goods imported to Germany originated from the Netherlands. Germany imported goods worth 86.6 billion euro from the Netherlands (9.5 percent of total German imports), with China and France accounting for the next highest imports.
Germany's Import and Export Indicators and Statistics at a Glance (2012)
Total value of exports: $1.492 trillion
Primary exports – commodities: motor vehicles, machinery, chemicals, computer and electronic products, electrical equipment, pharmaceuticals, metals, transport equipment, foodstuffs, textiles, rubber and plastic products
Primary exports partners: European Union (58.2 percent of total exports), US (7.0 percent), China (6.1 percent), Switzerland (4.5 percent), Russia (3.3 percent)
Total value of imports: $1.276 trillion
Primary imports - commodities: machinery, data processing equipment, vehicles, chemicals, oil and gas, metals, electric equipment, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, agricultural products
Primary imports partners: European Union (54.8 percent), China (8.9 percent), US (5.5 percent), Switzerland (4.2 percent), Russia (3.3 percent)
Read more about Germany's economy, including industry information, featured analysis and trade statistics below.