The German Economy's Dependence on China for Foreign Trade

December 18, 2019

China has become Germany's most important trade and import partner in merchandise trade. With a merchandise export share of 7%, China plays a more important role for Germany than for all other EU countries. The enormous increase in German merchandise exports to China between 1991 and 2018 contributed almost 27 percentage points to the total German merchandise export growth of just under 290%, which corresponds to a share of almost one tenth of total export growth. Nevertheless, without China's contribution, annual German exports would have risen only slightly less (except in a few individual years). 

In comparison with other value-added suppliers, China is as important for Germany as the US, but much less important than the old EU states. In a G6 comparison, Germany is no more dependent on value-added from China than other European G6 countries and slightly less than the US and Japan. Overall, China's import relevance is therefore low.