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Export Race

DW staff / dpa (jam)March 31, 2007

Germany should be able this year to defend its title as the world's export champion against a challenge from China, said Germany's leading trade association.

Germany will remain export champion for now, experts predict, but the race is onImage: AP

But in 2008, a neck-and-neck race between the two nations for the position as the world's leading export country should emerge, said Anton Börner, president of the Federation of German Wholesale and Trade (BGA) this week.

"It would be perfectly normal for China with a population of 1.3 billion to become the world's export champion," said Börner.

His comments at a press conference in Berlin on Tuesday followed the move by the BGA to raise its 2007 growth forecast for Germany's exports from 6.0 percent to 9.0 percent, helped by China's booming economic growth.

The BGA expects German exports to non-European Union nations to rise by 13 percent this year, boosted by exports to China and Russia as well Southeast Asia's fast-moving economies.

This is almost double the 7.0-percent growth increase the BGA is forecasting for exports to Germany's key partners in the 13-member euro zone.

No risk to Germany

Börner also stressed that China replacing Germany as the world's leading export nation did not represent a risk for Germany, which is also Europe's biggest economy.

Wirtschaft China - Shrimps-Verarbeitung
Most of these shrimp being processed in China are meant for the EU and USImage: dpa

China taking the title represented "good news and did not represent any danger for the German economy," said Börner.

"Our exports will continue to grow with or without the world champion title," he said, stressing that Germany's export machine was resulting in German employers expanding their hiring.

About 8.5 billion jobs, or one in every five, were dependent on Germany's export sector in 2006, the BGA chief said, adding that it was about one billion more than in 2000. The trend is for continued growth in job creation, he said.

Almost three years after the European Union's big bang in its membership, when 10 largely central and eastern European states signed up to the Brussels-based bloc, exports to that region continued to boom.

The BGA expects a 12-percent rise in German exports to central and eastern Europe this year, also boosted by Romania and Bulgaria becoming the EU's 26th and 27th member states at the start of 2007.