One topic in particular was discussed even before the anxiously anticipated first meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and American President Donald Trump took place: German-American economic relations. The US government criticized the German export surplus. Yet a glance at the figures shows: The US and Germany are of mutual benefit to each other.
Strong trade flows
It is true: The US is the most important export market for Germany. Yet at the same time, it is also fact that the US is the fourth most important importer for Germany, with more imports coming into the country only from China and the neighbouring countries France and the Netherlands.
In 2015 German direct investments in the US amounted to 255 billion US dollars. In comparison, US direct investments in Germany amounted to 108 billion US dollars in 2015.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, subsidiaries of German companies in the US employ about 672,000 workers. US firms in Germany provide about 677,000 jobs.
While 1,372 American companies operate in Germany, the number of German companies active in the US is 4,725. The plant of German company BMW in Spartanburg in South Carolina is the largest exporter of cars in the US.
Germany is a valuable partner for the US not least as the largest European national economy. The European Union and the US together generated 45.5 percent of the global gross domestic product in 2015 and represented 61.2 percent of foreign direct investment world-wide.
Sources: German Federal Statistical Office, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Commerce, Bundesbank, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development