Daily Management Review

Germany Continues To Register High Trade Surplus With U.S., Shows Official Data


Germany Continues To Register High Trade Surplus With U.S., Shows Official Data
Official figures from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany has shown that in 2017, the trade surplus that Germany has with the United States had once again widened.
Germany noted a trade surplus of 50.5 billion Euros in its 2017 trade with the U.S. as the European Union Member exported goods worth 111.5 billion euros (137.5 billion U.S. dollars) to the U.S. while importing products worth only 61 billion euros, according to calculations and statistics made by the Wiesbaden-based government statisticians.
The trade surplus between the two countries in 2016 was also in favor of Germany and was 48.9 billion euros according to figures of the Federal Statistical Office.
The large-scale trade and current account surplus that Germany has especially with the U.S. has been earlier criticized by the U.S. President Donald Trump.
The trade surplus between the two countries in 2000 was just 14.6 billion in Germany’s favor while it touched a record value of 53.5 billion euros in 2015. The trade surplus of Germany with the U.S. has been steadily increasing of the last many years.
The Trump administration could be prompted to "adopt protectionist measures against German or European firms" by the latest figures of the huge trade surplus in Germany’s favor, warned Thiess Petersen, senior economics expert at the Bertelsmann Foundation.
"This would endanger the prosperity and low unemployment rate of the exporting nation Germany," Petersen added.
The economic tug of war between the U.S. and the European Union has been brewing for sometime now and the export competitiveness of Germany with respect to the U.S. has added fuel to it. it should also be noted that this tug of war has intensified ever since Trump came to power in the U.S. and embarked on his ‘America First’ policy in trade and industry. Steel and aluminum are the most recent two products that the Trump administration wants to impose import tariff on. This thinking has prompted the EU to issue warnings of counter tariff on products like Bourbon whisky and Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
"We are ready to act swiftly and appropriately if our exports are harmed by U.S. protectionism," a spokesperson for EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker recently told the media.
According to Petersen, in the long run, it was "in the interest of the German economy" to reduce the trade surplus that it has in global trade even though the long drawn boom in its exports has helped the country specifically in relation to generation of jobs and revenues form taxes.  This reduction in trade dependency can be achieved by increasing domestic wages in addition to increasing public and private investment said the Bertelsmann Foundation expert.
For the short run however, Germany has announced that it will continue to strongly support the idea of free trade conjointly with countries such as China to nullify the protectionist policies that are being drawn up by the Trump administration in the U.S.

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