Your guide to exporting to Germany

Take your first step into Europe’s largest market, with our guide for exporting to Germany

Read the source article by The International Trade Administration (ITA) here.

Located in the heart of Europe, Germany is the fourth largest market in the world and the biggest consumer market in the EU.1 Its 80 million citizens are well-educated, technically-qualified, and have high standards of living.

Germany’s love of innovative and stylish products has also enabled many small and mid-size American firms to thrive. And with plenty of disposable income, it could be just the market you’re looking for.

Let’s explore a few key reasons why Germany is considered such an attractive market for US exporters, across a range of sectors.

1 Why export to Germany?

Large, strong, economy

The German economy accounts for one-fifth of the European Union’s entire GDP. It’s also America’s largest trading partner in Europe, and the sixth largest market for U.S. exports overall. The country operates a so-called ‘social market’ (soziale Marktwirtschaft) – which follows the usual market principles, but with a fair amount of government social policies and extensive welfare programs.

Overall, Germany’s economy is relatively healthy. For example, its annual average unemployment rate of 3.4% (2018) is the second lowest in the EU, and at just 6.2%, youth unemployment is also the lowest among EU countries.

However, it’s not all good news. There are several factors that could negatively impact business competitiveness over the coming years. For example, changing demographics are creating labor bottlenecks. The country’s transition away from nuclear towards renewable energy is also causing higher energy prices. And there’s Brexit, which has major implications for Germany’s export-focused economy.

World class opportunities

Germany is renowned for its large number of trade shows, particularly in areas like medical equipment (MEDICA), industrial technology (Hannover Messe), and the ITB Travel Trade show. Lots of business gets done at these shows – and in a country that values personal relationships, they could be a great opportunity for your business to find a partner and get your product into the market.

2 Vibrant tech market

Germany is a lucrative market for any high-tech products like software, electronic components, medical devices, and synthetic materials. Life sciences and advanced manufacturing are also popular there, and the ‘Internet of Things’ is especially hot at the moment.

3 Gateway to Europe

With its central location and solid infrastructure, Germany is a natural gateway to the rest of Europe. While you may struggle to find a distributor to cover all of Europe, there’s a good chance you’ll find one who can help you access all the German-speaking countries, such as Austria and Switzerland.

4 Sources

For more information and advice, explore the country commercial guides on export.gov, or contact the U.S. Commercial Service.