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German trade with Eastern countries is increasing strongly
15/10 2018 // International

German trade with Eastern countries is increasing strongly

The exchange of goods with the 29 OAOEV countries  increased at an above-average rate again in the first half of 2018. Southeastern Europe in particular recorded significant growth.

Current foreign trade data show regional shifts. The eastern partner countries have developed into heavyweights. Photo: Pixabay

German trade in the east continues at high speed: the figures of the Federal Statistical Office, evaluated by the East Committee – the East European Association of the German Economy (OAOEV), show how the German exchange of goods with the 29 countries of the region rose by 6.5 percent in the first half of 2018 compared to the same period last year. As the OAOEV announced, this growth is higher than the overall increase in German trade (+4.3 percent). "Eastern trade is currently in a high and stable position. At the moment, economic activity almost everywhere in our region is doing better than the political crisis actually allows," commented the OAOEV Chairman Wolfgang Büchele.

The most important partner in the region
Goods worth €226 billion were traded with the 29 OAOEV  countries between January and June 2018, an increase of EUR 14 billion. Overall, the 29 countries of the OAOEV achieved a strong share of 19% of total German foreign trade in the first half of 2018. This makes the region more important to the German economy than the huge markets of China, the USA and Japan put together. With Poland (7th place), the Czech Republic (10th place), Russia (13th place) and Hungary (14th place), four countries of the region are again placed among the top 15 German trading partners.

The procurement market of Eastern Europe
In contrast to German total trade, which shows a large trade surplus, there is a slight trade deficit with eastern partner countries: German exports were worth EUR 112 billion (EUR +6 billion / or converted +6 percent), while German imports were worth EUR 113 billion (EUR +7.5 billion / converted +7 percent). Countries between the Czech town of Karlovy Vary in the west and Vladivostok in the east claimed around 17 percent of German exports, and achieved a 21 percent share of all German imports. "The value added chain of German companies is highly connected with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The countries make a significant contribution to German export success in the world via supplier products. Germany is an absolute driving force for the region," commented Büchele.

High speed in Southeastern Europe
Particularly strong trade growth was achieved with the countries of Southeastern Europe in the first half of 2018, starting with Bulgaria (+8.5 percent) and Romania (+9.7 percent), through to Croatia (+12.3 percent) and Macedonia ( +17.3 percent), up to Montenegro (+21.4 percent) and Moldova (+23 percent). Trade continues to be strong with Central Eastern European countries such as Poland (+7.4 percent) and the Czech Republic (+4.4 percent).

After a disappointing spring, trade with Russia experienced a 5 percent growth in the first half of 2018. This is mainly due to increasing imports (+ 7.5 percent), while exports to Russia increased only slightly by 2 percent. "The prospects for German-Russian trade are continuing to be overshadowed by possible new US sanctions currently under discussion in Washington," said Büchele. "These sanctions are dangerous because they could target European partners of Russian companies. We consider this to be contrary to international law and hope that the EU and the Federal Government can prevent an even worse situation.”

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