CHINA for the first time became Germany’s most important trading partner in 2016, overtaking the US and France.
German imports from and exports to China rose to €170 billion (£143billion) last year, Federal Statistics Office figures reviewed by Reuters showed.
The development is good news for the German government, which has made it a goal to safeguard global free trade after US 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 suggested that the European Union should refocus its economic policy toward Asia, should the Trump administration pursue protectionism.
Anton Boerner, head of the BGA trade association, said: “Given the protectionist plans of the new US president one would expect that the trade ties between Germany and China will be further strengthened.”
Neighbouring France remained the second-most important business partner with a combined trade volume of €167 billion (£141 billion).
The United States came in third with €165 billion (£139 billion).
In 2015, the United States had climbed to the top of the list of Germany’s most important trading partners, overtaking France for the first time since 1961.
Separately, Germany’s Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations said on Friday it expected exports to Russia will probably rise at least 5 percent this year, their first increase in years given Western sanctions.
Full article: China overtakes US and France to become Germany’s most important trading partner (Express)