According to the U.S. State Department, exports traditionally have been a key element in German macroeconomic expansion, accounting for over half of the economic growth in recent years. Germany is a strong advocate of closer European economic integration, and its economic and commercial policies are increasingly determined within the European Union (EU). This export powerhouse is actively looking for opportunities to further its growth in international trade.
Perhaps you're interested in establishing a partnership with one of the country's exporters. You may be considering joint ventures with German companies, franchise or licensing opportunities, or sales of your products and services in Germany. Whatever your interests and needs, the resources provided in this section will lead you to information that can support your entry into this prosperous market.
More about Business Basics
Everything from understanding government regulations and tariffs, to the right labeling and gaining local representation comes into play when doing business in Germany. Getting the basics down can prepare you for market entry.
The Federation of International Trade Associations (FITA) created this introduction to Germany's economy and business environment. From this page, you can access links to economic data, foreign trade figures, information about accounting and reporting rules, and consumer research.
Germany's Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology offers an introduction to the country's external trade objectives and policies. This information is also available in German and French.
The Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology outlines the goals it has identified for strengthening Germany's participation in the global economy, including expansion of chambers of commerce, increased participation in foreign trade fairs and modernizing the European Union Customs code. This information is also available in German.
This profile of the German market was prepared by the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade), the Australian government's trade and investment development agency. It reviews Germany's economic climate, provides information and statistics about trade relations, and reviews such topics as tariffs; import restrictions; product certification, labeling and packaging; methods of quoting and payment; and various documentation and tax issues.
UK Trade & Investment, a division of the United Kingdom, has created a 15-page electronic booklet about the opportunities and challenges involved in doing business in Germany. Topics covered include:
- Preparing to export to Germany
- How to do business in Germany
- Labeling and packaging regulations
- Getting your goods to the market
- Standards and technical regulation
- Business etiquette, language and culture
From this page, you can access the link to download the booklet in PDF format.
The U.S. Department of Commerce prepared this report, and while it includes chapters dedicated to the sale of U.S. products and services in Germany and leading sectors for U.S. export and investment, it also addresses topics of more universal interest, such as Germany’s:
- Political and economic environment
- Trade regulations and standards
- Investment climate
- Trade and project financing
- Business travel Contacts
- Market research and trade events
Understanding market specifics, such as licensing, employment issues, getting credit and starting a business or franchise, is critical in moving into new countries. These resources are designed to help you assess your potential for success in moving into the German market.
The World Bank's "Doing Business" project compares business procedures and economic regulations in 181 countries throughout the world. This comprehensive report includes chapters about dealing with licenses, starting or closing a business, employing workers, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, enforcing contracts, and trading across borders in Germany.
Most World Bank materials are published in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Russian, Chinese and Arabic.
This World Bank chart summarizes the procedures, schedule requirements, and costs associated with setting up a business in Germany.
Using the building of a warehouse as an example, this page features a chart summarizing the procedures, time and costs to build in Germany. Text beneath the chart provides details about each step in the process.
Business success abroad depends not only on the quality of your products and services, but also on the knowledge and respect you show for the customs and manners of business people in your host country. These resources will help you to ensure that your business conduct in Germany makes a positive impression.