Economic relations with the United States – A pillar of German employment

Times Square, New York City © cgc76/Flickr (CC BY-NC ND 2.0)

The United States is a central political and economic partner for Germany. Many German jobs depend on German businesses selling to the United States and on U.S. companies investing in Germany. As a country based on democracy and the rule of law, the United States embodies stability and accountability.

The United States is not only an important political partner for Germany; economic relations are also of great importance. In 2015, the United States overtook France as the number one destination for German merchandise exports (Statistisches Bundesamt). German and U.S. companies are also among the largest investors in each other’s markets. Overall, relations with the United States are thus an important pillar of employment and prosperity in Germany.

Facts and figures

  • In 2015 the value of German merchandise exports to the United States was €113.7 billion, or 9.5 percent of the total (Statistisches Bundesamt);
  • With regard to merchandise imports, the United States was Germany's fourth most important trading partner in 2015 after China, the Netherlands and France. Germany imported goods worth €60.2 billion from the United States (Statistisches Bundesamt);
  • The United States is the top destination for German foreign direct investment (FDI). About 28 percent of German outward FDI stock is in the United States (2014, Bundesbank);
  • In 2014, there were 4,725 German companies with direct and indirect investments in the United States (Bundesbank);
  • Between them, in 2015 the European Union and United States together generated 45.5 percent of global GDP and accounted for 61.2 percent of the global outward FDI stock (UNCTAD, provisional GDP figures).

Both sides benefit from close economic relations: U.S. companies have a strong presence in the German market as well: in 2015 Germany was the sixth-largest market for U.S. merchandise exports. Innovative U.S. products are very popular with German consumers. Investments by U.S. companies like Ford, General Electric, McDonald’s, and Hewlett Packard also secure jobs in Germany.

BDI is closely following the developments in transatlantic economic relations. The Representative of German Industry and Trade (RGIT) in Washington supports our work on the ground.

United States and EU: Important actors in the global economy

Joint shares of the United States and the EU in percent *GDP in U.S. dollars, current prices and current exchange rates **excluding intra-EU trade

Source: OECD; UNCTAD; WTO (accessed 14.10.2015).