Sunday, January 10, 2010

Germany is now #2 world exporter

If you're in America, I think I know what you're thinking -- Germany moved up. But actually, China just overtook Germany as the world's biggest exporter. The Germans held the title from 2003-2008.

Think about what this means for a moment. Measured in terms of US dollars, the value of German goods exported exceeded the value of goods exported by every other country. Note that the figure does not represent a trade balance; imports are not deducted from the sum. Note also that the figure is given in absolute terms, not per capita.

A country with around 80 million people (Germany) therefore managed for six years running not only to out-export the United States, with around 300 million people, but also China, with around 1,300 million people.

Over the past few years, I have been including this fact in my presentations to unsuspecting American audiences (energy folks, and none of them ever knew Germany was #1) in an attempt to impress upon them that, while Americans are very concerned about keeping up with China, Germany has been easily beating China with only one 1/16 of the population. And the Germans have partly been doing so with renewables and energy efficiency.

I suppose I will now have to change those presentations ever so slightly.

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