Why is America so important

The USA has overtaken France as Germany's most important trading partner. With no other country does the German economy exchange as many goods as with the United States. Exports and imports totaled 173.2 billion euros in 2015, according to the Federal Statistical Office. France follows with a movement of goods worth 170.1 billion euros. The third most important trading partner is the Netherlands with a volume of 167.6 billion euros.

The economy in France has lagged behind expectations for a long time, and consumers are cautious. In the last quarter of 2015, Europe's second largest economy grew by just 0.2 percent. The terrorist attacks in Paris also contributed to this.

TTIP could allow trade volumes to grow further

The fact that the USA is now Germany's most important trading partner is primarily due to exports. Last year Germany sent goods worth 113 billion euros to the USA. The recently weak euro, which makes German goods cheaper and therefore more attractive for US customers, also helped. If you only look at imports, China is Germany's most important trading partner.

The development is particularly interesting against the background of the negotiations on the transatlantic free trade agreement TTIP. As things stand so far, the agreement could reduce the majority of import duties on American goods. The volume of trade with the USA could increase further as a result. However, the agreement is controversial. Among other things, the question is how investors can claim their rights in the future if they feel discriminated against.

© SZ.de/Reuters/jps/jasch