In the past 30 years the development of foreign trade in the Federal Republic of Germany1 has been marked by a steep rise in nominal exports and imports of goods and services. Only recently has this progression slowed down. For almost the whole of this period the trade balance showed a surplus, which reached its peak level in 1989. Subsequently the surplus decreased considerably due to German reunification, but it gradually recovered in the following years. The impressive and continuous increase of German foreign trade over time can be seen in Figure 8.1, which shows real exports and imports of goods. In 1960 the relation of foreign trade (export and import of goods) to GDP amounted to about 24 per cent. By 1990 this ratio rose to about 57 per cent reflecting Germany’s growing dependence on foreign trade. Since 1991, the ratio has fallen back to about 50 per cent. This reflects the effects of German unification since intra German trade has replaced trade with foreign countries.


Foreign Trade Trade Performance Structural Adjustment German Reunification Real Export 
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References and Further Reading

  1. Abd-el-Rahman, K. (1991) ‘Firms’ Competitive and National Comparative Advantages as Joint Determinants of Trade Composition’, Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv, 127, 83–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Brülhart, M. (1994) ‘Marginal Intra-Industry Trade: Measurement and Relevance for the Pattern of Industrial Specialization’, Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv, 130, 600–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  4. Greenaway, D. and Milner, C. (1986) The Economics of Intra-Industry Trade, Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
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  6. Greenaway, D., Hine, R.C., Milner, C. and Elliott, R. (1994) ‘Adjustment and the Measurement of Marginal Intra Industry Trade’, Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv, 130, 418–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hamilton, C. and Kniest, P. (1991) ‘Trade Liberalisation, Structural Adjustment and Intra-Industry Trade: A Note’, Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv, 127, 356–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Schuhmacher, D. (1983) ‘Intra-Industry Trade between the Federal Republic of Germany and Developing Countries: Extent and Some Characteristics’, in Tharakan, P.K.M. (ed.), Intra-Industry Trade, Amsterdam: North-Holland.Google Scholar
  9. Vona, S. (1991) ‘On the Measurement of Intra-Industry Trade: Some Further Thoughts’, in Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv, 127, 678–700.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Centre of Research in European Development and International Trade (CREDIT) 1999

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