Germany

Last updated: June 2nd, 2021

The Federal Republic of Germany is located in Central Europe and its central position makes it an attractive location. Neighbouring countries are – clockwise starting in the north – Denmark, Poland, Czechia, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Since the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990, the Federal Republic has been divided into sixteen federal states, which hold a strong position in the constitutional structure. The capital is Berlin with about 3.7 million inhabitants. The total population is around 83 million.

Germany is a founding member of the European Union as well as a member of the UN, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and numerous other international and regional organisations such as the Union for the Mediterranean, which was founded in 2008 and builds on the Barcelona Process begun in 1995. The affairs of state have been led by Chancellor Angela Merkel in changing coalitions since 2005; she is not running for office again in the upcoming 2021 federal elections. The head of state has been Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier since March 2017.

Germany is the largest economy in Europe and the fourth largest internationally. Its GDP in 2020 was around 3.33 trillion euros, a reduction of 4.8 percent due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2021, a recovery of 3.2 percent is expected.

In 2020, Germany repeatedly ranked among the top three exporting countries in the world. The Arab countries also represent a large sales market for products “Made in Germany”. According to Germany’s national statistics authority, the five Arab countries to which Germany exported the most in 2020 were the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, and Algeria, with an export volume of more than 20 billion euros. Among all Arab countries, only the Comoros, Tunisia, Mauritania, and Libya export more to Germany than they import from there.

Some of the trade relations with individual countries in the Mediterranean and Middle East region go back a long way. Trade relations between Morocco and Germany can be traced back to the beginning of the 16th century. At that time, trading families and merchants such as the Fuggers already had their own representations in the port city of Safi, where they loaded saffron and wheat. Towards the end of the 17th century, negotiations between the Empire of the Sherif and the Hanseatic cities of Hamburg, Bremen, and Lübeck led to a treaty on the security of the sea routes. From then on, ships from these cities enjoyed free passage along the Moroccan coast.

German-Turkish economic relations also have a long tradition. In 1761, Frederick the Great and Sultan Mustafa III signed a treaty of friendship, shipping, and trade. In 1856, Siemens built the first telegraph office in Istanbul. In addition, Deutsche Bank participated in the construction of the Baghdad Railway from Anatolia to the Middle East. Relations between Germany and Iran also go back to the 19th century. Even today, Hamburg is the city with the most Iranian inhabitants in Europe after London.