|Girish Shetti |||Feb 25, 2017 10:12 AM EST|
(Photo : Getty Images. ) The data issued by Germany's Federal Statistical Office, which was reviewed by Reuters, shows German imports from and exports to China climbed to 170 billion euros ($180 billion) in 2016.
China for the first time has overtaken the U.S to emerge as Germany's most valuable trading partner in 2016, according to the latest data released by the German government. The critical data comes at a time when Germany is trying to forge deep trading ties with Asian countries, especially in the wake of President Donald Trump's open support for trade protectionism.
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The data issued by Germany's Federal Statistical Office, which was reviewed by Reuters, shows German imports from and exports to China climbed to 170 billion euros ($180 billion) in 2016. The data also showed that France is Germany's second biggest trading partner while the U.S. slipped to the third position on account of a fall in trade deals.
However, analysts have cautioned against reading too much into this data, claiming that China's leap to the top may have been due to a temporary surge in demand for German good in the Chinese market. The argument possibly points out that China's accession to the top may not continue for a long time.
Nonetheless, there seems to be at least some consensus in the German government that developing trade ties with Asian countries is necessary.
German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel recently advised that Germany must respond to Trump's protectionism policies by strengthening its trade ties with China. However, he concluded that this will "not be easy" since right now "no other countries right now have the same size and purchasing power as the US."
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel paid a visit to China in July last year, signifying Beijing's growing importance as a diplomatic and trade ally. A host of trade agreements were signed between the two countries, with Merkel especially urging its Asian counterpart to open up its market to German companies.
Last year, Berlin's economic ties with Beijing also came under considerable strain due to a controversy over the acquisition of Kuka AG by Chinese company Midea Group. Many German politicians raised questions that the acquisition of Kuka AG, a leading robotic company, by a Chinese company could evoke serious security concerns for the country in the long.
However, Merkel's government dismissed these concerns to give a green signal to this high-profile deal and also gave assurance to Beijing that China-German trade relations were heading in the right direction
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