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Globalization and Economics

Germany: a Top European Trade Authority

The consumer who doesn't follow global trade trends is apt to believe the majority of imports to the United States come from Asia. While it is true that the Four Asian Tigers monopolize a good percentage of world supply chains to North America and beyond, a good number of everyday products and foodstuffs that we enjoy have origins in Europe. If you wear Adidas shoes, for example, or brew your morning coffee with a Braun espresso maker and enjoy the occasional Ritter Sport chocolate bar, you are strengthening Germany's export business.


If you've kept up on your world history, you are aware of the country's tumultuous history over the last century. Its borders have changed over time-the land was part of the Holy Roman Empire until the early nineteenth century, then split into eastern and western regions after World War II before reunification in 1990. These days, the Republic of Germany has settled into the role of a true economic force: as the fourth largest gross domestic product economy in the world, it ranks in the top three among nations in importing and exporting, and is considered an innovative source of new technologies in several industries. Nearly fifteen percent of the Fortune Global 500 companies have headquarters here.


Made in Germany: Top Exports and Products


Hear the phrase "good German engineering," and you're likely to think of cars. Manufacturers like Mercedes Benz, BMW, Porsche and Volkswagen supply quality automobiles and sport utility vehicles to the United States and throughout Europe, in addition to accessories and car parts that may be found in other makes and models. While the automotive industry benefits from German experience, it is not the industry in which this country excels. You'll find strong German engineering at work in the following sectors as well:


Chemical manufacturing: Germany is home to BASF, perhaps the largest chemical company in the world. BASF is a leader in production of plastics and polyurethanes used for making everyday household objects. Sustainable and biodegradable coatings and performance chemicals designed to increase eco-friendly awareness are also in development.


Pharmaceutical: Ever take an aspirin for a headache? That's a product with German roots as well. This over the counter drug originated with the Barmen-based Bayer AG, a leading pharmaceutical company. Subgroups of the corporation are responsible for the production of other medicines and hospital equipment.


Industrial machinery: Engines that power machines and vehicles, generators and pumps, and equipment designed specifically for mass transit are popular export products. The nation's expertise in production of civilian aircraft is evident in their major airline, Lufthansa, which is also the largest in Europe.


Other Top Brands of Deutschland


What else are you apt to find in your closet, pantry, or purse that's made in Germany?


  • Birkenstock: durable sandals and shoes known for their cork soles
  • Steinway and Sons: well-known maker of pianos and musical keyboards
  • T-Mobile: popular wireless phone provider
  • Faber-Castell: top manufacturer of office supplies, pens and pencils
  • Nivea: producer of skin care and beauty products


This fertile land that hearkens to imagery of Oktoberfest and emotional Beethoven sonatas operates as a major player in global trade. With an overall high quality of life supported by a strong social security system and plentiful employment opportunities, Germany is likely to remain strong for centuries.


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