|A Chinese container ship at the port of Hamburg.|
The latest data from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany shows that the trade volume between China and Germany in 2016 reached 170 billion euros, hitting a historical high in the record of bilateral trade between the two countries. China has for the first time surpassed the U.S. and France to become Germany's largest trading partner.
The growing trade volume between China and Germany is a sign of strong economic cooperation--especially notable given the current global economic slowdown, as well as the trends of anti-globalization and protectionism.
Germany has made great gains in its exports over the last year, with a favorable balance of trade settled at 252.9 billion euros. The country has maintained a healthy development of trade with other nations in the European Union, while its exports to countries outside the region have shrunk due to the sluggish global economy and regional political instability.
However, China has become a notable exception to that trend. Bilateral trade between China and Germany grew 4.1 percent to 169.87 billion euros in 2016. In addition, the percentage of bilateral trade between the two countries in Germany's total trade volume increased from 7.5 percent in 2015 to the current 7.9 percent. Germany's exports to China also increased by 6.8 percent to 76.1 billion euros.
Hao Jianfei, a representative of Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI) in Hong Kong, attributed the growing trade volume to two factors. First, German products have long enjoyed a good reputation in China due to their quality and innovation. Second, German customers are inclined to buy high-tech products from China as a result of the latter's economic globalization. Hao pointed out that bilateral trade between the nations will likely grow as China's economic transition and development progress.
China-Germany trade has experienced rapid development since China's entrance to the WTO. China's economic transition toward sustainability, as well as a consumption- and innovation-driven growth pattern, means huge opportunity for German enterprises, Germany's Federal Foreign Office previously said in a statement.
Hao believes that Germany and China are both beneficiaries of free trade. Enhancing trade and investment in an equal business environment will create more jobs for the two countries, bringing new opportunities to small and medium sized enterprises especially, he stressed.