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Leading Sectors for U.S. Exports & Investments

Agricultural Sector

Leading Sub Sectors

Tree Nuts

The category of tree nuts includes almonds, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts and walnuts. Germany does not produce significant quantities of these products; therefore, supply comes primarily from imports. The United States is the biggest supplier of tree nuts to Germany. The leading competitor for the United States in the German tree nut market is Turkey. Many U.S. agricultural associations actively promote their products in Germany, including the Almond Board of California, California Pistachio Commission and the California Walnut Commission. Most tree nuts are used as ingredients by the food processing sector. Almonds are the most important commodity within this category. Further products with good sales potential include walnuts, pistachios, and pecans.

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Total Exports





Total Imports





Imports from the US





Total Market Size





  • Global Trade Atlas query dated June 9, 2017

Fishery Products
Fish and fishery products enjoy growing popularity in Germany. The German market offers lucrative opportunities for fish and seafood products. Fish consumption is growing as consumers associate fishery products with a healthy diet. Best prospects for U.S. and seafood exports are salmon, shrimps, crabs, caviar substitutes, cuttlefish and squid, sea urchin, catfish, lobster and scallops. The two most important U.S. fishery export products to Germany are Alaska Pollock and salmon by value. 

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  • Exports





  • Imports





  • from the US





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  • Global Trade Atlas query dated June 9, 2017

Web resources:

Fish International – is the leading fish and seafood show in Germany. It is held on an annual basis in Bremen. Next show: February 25-27, 2018

  • Germany is the world's largest importer of wine by volume and third largest by value. In 2016, German wine imports were valued at more than USD 2.7 billion. Italy, France and Spain are the leading suppliers of wine to Germany with a combined import market share of nearly 78%.  U.S. wines, together with other “new-world” wines, have developed an increasingly good reputation for quality in the German market. In 2016, the value of Germany's imports of U.S. wines totaled USD 86 million.

in million liters




2017 (Estimated)

Total Local Production





Total Exports





Total Imports





Imports from the US





Total Market Size





German production data is only available on a volume basis; therefore, this table is in liters

Sources: German Office of Statistics (German production)

Global Trade Atlas (trade) query dated June 9, 2017

Web resources:

Prowein – is the leading wine show in Germany. It is held on an annual basis in Dusseldorf. Next show: March 18-20, 2018

Pet Food

Germany is one of the leading countries for pet ownership in the world. Germans are willing to pay a premium to properly feed their pets and interest in specialty health pet food products is growing rapidly. Most pet foods are produced domestically and the EU requires pet foods to be derived from meat that can be used for human consumption. Despite the bureaucratic obstacles, opportunities for exporting pet food products to Germany are available given the considerable size of the market.

  • million USD
  • (Estimated)
  • Local Production





  • Exports





  • Imports





  • from the U.S.





  • Market Size





Global Trade Atlas (trade) query dated June 9, 2017

Web resources:

Interzoo – is a world leading pet industry exhibition. It is held on an annual basis in Nuremberg. Next show: May 8-11, 2018

Customs, Regulations & Standards

Trade Barriers

Germany's regulations and bureaucratic procedures can be a difficult hurdle for companies wishing to enter the market and require close attention by U.S. exporters. Complex safety standards, not normally discriminatory but sometimes zealously applied, complicate access to the market for many U.S. products. U.S. suppliers are well advised to do their homework thoroughly and make sure they know precisely which standards apply to their product and that they obtain timely testing and certification.

For more information and help with trade barriers please contact:

Enforcement and Compliance
(202) 482-0063

Information on agricultural trade barriers can be found online.

To report existing or new trade barriers and get assistance in removing them, contact either the Office of Trade Agreements Negotiations and Compliance or the U.S. Mission to the European Union.

Travel and Tourism


Travel and tourism is the second-largest export industry in the United States and the largest services sector export. Every 40 visitors to the U.S. will create one new U.S job. For 2016, the National Tourism and Travel Organization (NNTO) estimates a total of 74.7 million international visitors to the United States and 2.2 million visitors from Germany. Germany is ranked 6th worldwide in terms of visitors per year making it a profoundly important market for the U.S.
The U.S. Travel Association estimates that spending by international travelers to the United States in 2016 reached USD 246 billion and supported directly or indirectly 1.2 million of the 7.3 million American jobs in the tourism industry. (This includes passenger fares on U.S. carriers by international travelers to the United States.) In 2015, German visitors to the United States spent a total of USD 8.879 billion (ranked 9th worldwide and 2nd after the UK in Europe).


Germany hosts the world’s largest travel show, ITB, making Germany a premier marketplace for U.S. tourism companies to reach their global partners and buyers. VUSA Germany (Visit USA Committee Germany e.V.), together with Brand USA, will promote the VISIT USA brand at 4 major consumer travel shows, 3 trade events, 2 media events, several networking events and online and in print. In addition, Brand USA will conduct familiarization trips to the U.S. for travel agents, promote their giant screen film on the U.S. National Park Service (as part of its great outdoors theme), support culinary tourism events and continue its cooperative advertising campaign with major tour operators. The goal is to attract 2.23 million German visitors to the United States in 2016.

Policy Objectives and Challenges

Policies in the German and European markets for travel to the United States which could potentially cause challenges are  flight access, visa waiver, ESTA, immigration issues, and drivers’ license issues.

The Commerial Service will continue to follow the latest policy developments and discussions in Germany led by trade organizations such as DRV (German Travel Agents and Tour Operator Association) and VUSA (Visit USA Committee Germany e.V.) and monitor travel related media coverage and report these back to NTTO so that U.S. clients are better positioned to maintain the 2.23 million visitor goal from Germany.

Trade Events

TC Leipzig

CMT Stuttgart

Reisen Hamburg

f.re.e Munich

ITB Berlin

IMEX Frankfurt

Travel Expo & FVW Congress Cologne (B2B fair)

Web Resources

Entry and visa regulations information:

US Embassy in Germany



Official site of the Visit USA Committee Germany e.V

Brand USA’s consumer website in German

Consumer travel website on United States in German

German landing page for Recreation.Gov



Germany has one of the largest ICT markets in the world and U.S. suppliers are key market players in all segments. According to the German association for information technology, BITKOM, the subsector market sizes (in EUR billion) in 2016 were: IT-Hardware 24.0, Software 23.0, IT-Services 39.0, Consumer Electronics 9.2, Telecommunication devices 10.7 and telecommunication infrastructure 6.6.

Germany hosts several key ICT trade shows, making it a premier marketplace for U.S. companies to reach global partners and buyers. U.S. exhibitors have frequently found buyers from Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America at CeBIT.

Computers, Electronics and Visual Products was the largest U.S. export sector to Germany in 2016 with $8.5 billion of exports (according to the German Federal Statistics Office).

ICT is a German Government priority. Germany’s economic and innovation policy focuses on digital infrastructure, digital economy, digital workplaces, innovative public administration, digital environments in society, education, research, science, culture and media, security, protection and confidence for society and business, and European and international dimension of the Digital Agenda.

Best Prospects for U.S. exports

Key segments and topics of interest include IT Security, Internet of Things, Big Data, Health IT, Cloud Computing, Business IT: EPR, Data Centers, Smart Social Business Platforms, Integrated Systems, Virtual & Augmented Reality and Digital Factory.

Major subsectors in 2016 for U.S. exports were computers ($544 million), computer accessories ($620 million), and telecom equipment ($1.3 billion.)

Policy Objectives and challenges

Potential challenges include the possible impact of the EU Digital Single Market and the General Data Protection Regulation on U.S. ICT companies, and the latest Cybersecurity policy developments.

The Commercial Service aims to follow these developments and continue to work with Associations and multipliers such as BMWi (German Federal Economics Ministry), BITKOM (Association for Information Technology), BDI (Federation of German Industries), GTAI (Germany Trade and Investment) and Amcham (American Chamber of Commerce). This year G20-related digital policy events will be a major focus.

Trade events

  • Cebit, Messegelände, 20-24 March 2017
  • NAB, Las Vegas, 22-27 April 2017

Web Resources

Trade Associations:






BIU Online


Government Entities:

Federal Office for Information Security

German Regulatory Authority

Trade Publications:

Computer Woche


Channel Partner


Advanced Manufacturing


Advanced Manufacturing (AM) - the convergence of information and communications technologies with manufacturing processes to drive real-time control of energy, productivity and costs across factories and companies - was identified as one of the highest-priority manufacturing technology areas in need of federal investment. Harnessing advanced sensors, controls, information technology processes and platforms, and advanced energy management systems, advanced manufacturing has the potential to drive energy efficiency and U.S. manufacturing competitiveness in a range of sectors.

The OPC Foundation (Object Linking and Embedding for Process Control) signed an MOU with the VDMA the (Mechanical Engineering Industry Association) in June 2016 to proceed in the OPC UA Machine Vision Companion Specification to make machine vision and robotics industry fit for Industry 4.0 and for the factory of the future. This will help SMEs to implement robotics and machine vision software language with their products.

Best Prospects for U.S. exports

Advanced Manufacturing is believed to provide best export potential for industries such as Machine Tools/General Industrial Equipment, Robotics, Information and Communication Technology, Process Control Instrumentation and Electronics Industry Production Equipment for the next 5 to 10 years. 84 % of German manufacturers plan to invest EUR 50 to 100 billion into smart manufacturing technologies until 2025, but only 20% are already spending money on investments.

Policy Objectives and Challenges

Challenges for the involved industries and supporting governments are the definition of reference architecture and frameworks necessary for interoperability, and how to build confidence around new and innovative approaches to security. In April 2016, the two major international players, the International Internet Consortium (IIC) and the German-led Industrie 4.0, agreed to collaborate for the benefit of interoperability of systems from the different domains. The Commercial Service will continue to be a point of contact for the Bureau of Industry & Security for activities in our sectors. They will also continue to follow the latest policy developments and discussions in Germany led by the German government and relevant associations, such as the ZVEI (Zentralverband Elektrotechnik- und Elektronikindustrie.)

Trade Events

Web Resources

Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC)

Federation of German Scientists (VDW)

OPC Foundation

Smart Cities


Cities consume two-thirds of the world’s major resources. Transforming municipalities into smart cities would allow for gigantic savings, up to $22 billion between now and 2050, and drastically reduce pollution. With 75% of Europeans and 80% of Americans living in cities it is no surprise that the U.S. and Europe, and especially Germany, are spearheading “smart cities” projects with investments, research and technologies.

In October 2016, the White House announced it would support its Smart Cities Initiative with $80 million. The U.S. DoT also announced a $165 million investment in smart-city solutions as part of the White House’s Smart Cities Initiative. However, most of America's smart city progress is not directed or funded at a federal level, but is privately funded.

The German Ministry of Education and Research operates a program called the “City of the Future,” offering funding of EUR 150 million for a range of projects that bring local residents, researchers, local government, and municipal utilities together to work out ideas and solutions for cities.

The global market for smart-city solutions is expected to grow by 20 percent annually to reach a volume of EUR 1 trillion by 2020. Hence, sustainable technologies in the industry segments listed below have excellent prospects for medium and long-term growth for U.S. manufacturers and service providers.

Best Prospects for U.S. exports

Building and construction: energy-efficient buildings and modernization reduce electricity demand

Energy: expansion of renewable energy generation, smart grids and distribution, and storage systems

Transportation/Logistics: investment in public transport and smart traffic systems, e-mobility

Environmental technology: new solutions for waste recycling and waste-water treatment

Ports: fully automated port where all devices are connected via IoT

Management: Planning and organization, models for financing and cooperation in administration, public facilities and the municipal economy, security for critical infrastructure

Policy Objectives and Challenges

Trade barriers often pose a challenge for both the economy and consumers. The Commercial Service will continue to support initiatives of the U.S government and the respective German Federal Ministries to eliminate these and build up new prospects. With regards to Smart Cities, there has been an increased risk of data security breaches, vulnerabilities to invasions of privacy and concerns about software reliability.

Trade Events

o PowerGen Europe, Cologne, June 27-29, 2017

o PowerGen International, Las Vegas, December 5-7, 2017 (Distributed energy, smart grid infrastructure solutions )

  • Building and Construction:

o Greenbuild Expo, Boston, 08-10 November 2017 (Energy efficient buildings)

  • Transportation/Logistics:

o IAA Frankfurt, Frankfurt, 14-24 September 2017 ( New Mobility World)

  • Environmental technology:

o Wasser Berlin, Berlin, 28-31 March 2017 (digitalization in the water industry)

o IFAT Munich, Munich, 14-18 May 201

o Ports: SMM Hamburg, Hamburg, 4-7 September 2018 (smart ports, technology for fully automated ports)

  • Management:

o CeBIT Hannover, Hannover, 11-15 June 2017

Web Resources

Germany Trade & Invest

Germany Trade & Invest

German Partnership for Sustainable Mobility

Bundesverband Smart City e.V. (Federal Associationa Smart City, link only in German)

Smart Cities Council



The Healthcare/Life Sciences (HCT) industry is a priority both for the EU and Germany as reflected in the EU Fund for Regional Development (EFRE)) program 2014-2020 and the German Länder implementation and tendering of this program. Implementation will focus on smart health and aging; the German Government has established councils to pave the way for an integrated and cost-efficient healthcare system. All of this should result in increased opportunities for U.S. suppliers to participate in healthcare infrastructure development projects and partner with German and EU firms and offer export opportunities for U.S. health solutions providers.

Medical Technologies (MED) is the key sector of the HCT industry. The U.S. is home to the world’s leading medical device manufacturers, which employ more than 400,000 Americans directly and 2 million indirectly. Roughly 90% of the over 7,000 medical device manufacturers are often export-ready SMEs, and many of the world’s largest medical device manufacturers. Germany is Europe’s largest market for medical devices and the world’s third largest behind the United States and Japan, accounting for roughly EUR 30 billion annually. Key industry drivers include the innovative strength of the sector; a solid financial basis of the industry, 80% of which are SMEs, and a vibrant startup scene. All major U.S. suppliers, such as GE Healthcare, Medtronic and 3M, have subsidiaries in Germany. U.S. medical device exporters continue to hold a 27-30% share of the German import market


Germany hosts the world’s largest annual HCT trade show, MEDICA, making Germany a premier marketplace for U.S. companies to reach their global partners and buyers. The U.S. HCT industry, represented by 500+ U.S. exhibitors, converge every year for the 4 day long MEDICA trade show to sell to Europe and the rest of the world.

Best Prospects for U.S. exports

Other HCT sectors include: pharmaceutics, dental products, biotechnology, cosmetics, nutritional supplements and death care. Promising sectors for U.S. suppliers include:

Pharmaceuticals: The German pharmaceuticals market was valued at $58.8 billion in 2016 and remains one of the most attractive worldwide over the coming years. Major growth drivers are the aging population and chronic diseases. It is regarded as a test market for other EU countries for pricing and distribution.

Biotechnology: German market biotech dedicated to medical/life sciences is valued at $1.6 billion with around 300+ local players. In addition, most pharma giants such as Bayer, Merck, Boehringer and U.S. subsidiaries (Pfizer, Amgen, etc.) have their own biotech development in pre-clinical pharma and also license in/out. There are good opportunities for US biotech startups/SMEs to seek partnerships with large pharma in Germany and incubator/accelerator partnerships.

Dental products: Dental product sales from 200 German Dental Association member companies was valued at $5.2 billion (+6.7 %) in 2015; exports accounted for $3.3 billion (+4.7 %), and sales in Germany totaled $ 1.9 billion (+5.6 %). This constitutes a substantial growth in exports with a very stable home market and presents good opportunities for U.S. supplier and collaboration partnerships.

Cosmetics: Germany is Europe’s largest cosmetics market, with sales valued $14.3 billion in 2016. The natural cosmetic products segment presents excellent opportunities for U.S. exporters with annual growth of 9% and consumer spending of $1.16 billion.

Nutraceuticals: Germany’s nutritional supplements market is valued at $4.3 billion (2015) and has estimated 5-7% annual growth over the next five years. Every third German consumes supplements and Germans are increasingly health-conscious and pay out of pocket. The market is highly saturated and regulated. Pharmacies, drugstores, and online sales are the major distribution channels.

Policy Objectives and Challenges

The Commercial Service will evaluate the broad impact of trade policies on German companies in the HCT and Life Sciences sector, with a particular focus on SMEs by working with the local MED cluster and their members and encourage a positive outlook on transatlantic trade among industry contacts we meet at events and in the context of partner search outreach. We will also organize a workshop on Compliance in Trade with a local strategic partner (7/2017).

We will follow the latest healthcare policy developments and discussions in Germany, and work with U.S. associations, such as the Advanced Medical Technology Association and Medical Device Manufacturers Association based in Washington to ensure fair access for U.S. firms to the German and European markets

Trade Events

Web Resources

Local Associations


ZVEI Health Pages



Government Links:

International Federation of Health Plans

Association of Public Health Plan Providers

Aerospace/ Defense/ Security


U.S. aerospace & defense manufacturers produce the highest trade surplus, year after year, of all manufacturing sectors. In 2016, U.S. aerospace exports to Germany amounted to $6 billion. The trade surplus was $3.06 billion, representing a 36% increase over 2015 ($2.24 billion). Aerospace & defense is complemented by homeland security & public safety, an industry spanning across 16 vertical markets with estimated 2017 revenues of $60 billion in the United States. U.S. manufacturers are well-positioned to profit from global market growth.

Germany hosts the world’s third-largest trade show for aerospace & defense (ILA Berlin Air Show), the world’s largest trade show for aircraft cabin interiors (Aircraft Interiors Expo / AIX) and Europe’s largest trade show for general aviation (AERO), making it an ideal platform for U.S. companies to meet with their global partners and buyers. The major safety & security shows that are relevant for the German market are held in London (DSEI) and Paris (Milipol).

Germany has the third-largest aerospace & defense market in Europe, with 2015 revenues at €34.7 billion, following France at €58.3 billion and the UK at €36.2 billion. The German homeland security & public safety market is estimated to cross $15 billion by 2017 will experience annual growth rates of more than 15% until 2020 due to a major upgrade of the German internal security and migration enforcement infrastructure technology after the 2015/2016 terror attacks in France, Belgium and Germany.

Aerospace is a German Government priority. The Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) lists aerospace as a key industry with high growth rates and a strong industrial core in Germany. BMWi’s “Aerospace Strategy” from March 2014 states that the aerospace sector is of particular importance for Germany as an industrial country both technologically and economically.

Best Prospects for U.S. exports

The main vertical markets for homeland security & public safety in Germany are airport security, smart borders, telecommunications and critical infrastructure, and police modernization.

Policy Objectives and Challenges

U.S Suppliers should be aware of the effects of the Export Control Reform (ECR) regarding changes to the EAR and ITAR to U.S. aerospace & defense companies. The Commercial Service will continue to support U.S. companies by conducting frequent and active outreach to the Bundeswehr’s Federal Office of Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) in Koblenz, and following the latest aerospace, defense and security policy developments and discussions in Germany. On an international level, we will gain insight from organizations, such as the Aerospace and Defense Industries Association of Europe (ASD), the U.S. Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and Homeland Security Research (HSR) in Washington, D.C. to understand their positions on transatlantic trade issues, and communicate U.S. objectives.

Trade Events

Web Resources

German Aerospace Industries Association (BDLI):

German Airport Technology & Equipment


ALROUND (Association of Aerospace-oriented SMEs in Germany):

German Helicopter Association (DHU):

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