Text from the Indicator Report 2022
Information about imports to Germany is compiled from the foreign trade statistics of the Federal Statistical Office. In this case, the type of the imported goods is also recorded in detail in addition to their country of origin, their value and weight. The service sector is excluded from foreign trade statistics.
The various countries are classified as LDCs based on the list of recipients of official development assistance kept by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The classifications valid in the respective year according to the OECD-DAC are used for this indicator. If the status of a country changes, this will impact the indicator even if the value of imports from this country remains unchanged.
Due to reimports, duplicate counting in the numerator and denominator of the indicator cannot be excluded. The fact that the imports from LDCs are viewed in relation to all German imports must also be taken into account. This means that the value of the indicator depends not only on the absolute quantity of imports from LDCs, but also on the value of all imports. Alongside Germany’s total imports from LDCs, the indicator also shows what share is made up of processed products. The intention here is to address the question, at least to some extent, as to whether Germany mainly uses LDCs as sources of basic materials for industrially produced goods or whether the LDCs themselves have a stake in the manufacturing process and the associated value creation. These include all goods not classified as raw materials in the classification according to product groups of the food and industrial economy (EGW). The term thus does not encompass products extracted from nature and not or hardly processed, such as petroleum, ores, timber in the rough or vegetable textile fibres. Conversely, cereals, vegetables, live animals, meat and milk are classified as processed products.
Imports from LDCs as a proportion of all imports to Germany was 1.03 % or 12.4 billion euros in 2021 (provisional results). This is an increase of more than 44.5 % compared with 2014, when the share was just 0.71 %. The share of imports of processed products from LDCs increased even more sharply between 2014 and 2021 (+ 38.7 %). In 2021, It has reached 0.91 % of total imports to Germany (2014: 0.66 %), which equates to a value of around 11.0 billion euros. Despite the steady increase from 2014 on, if the development of the last five years continues, it can be assumed that the target will be missed.
Closer analysis of the various countries of origin reveals that the largest amount of Germany’s imports from LDCs in 2021 came from Bangladesh (57.3 %) or Cambodia (12.6 %). If one looks not only at the LDCs but at all developing and emerging countries, their share of total imports to Germany in 2021 was 23.7 %, and processed products from those countries accounted for 22.1 %. China plays the most important role among all developing and emerging countries. Of all German imports in 2021, 1,203.2 billion euros or 11.8 % came from China alone, with processed goods making up 99.6 %. Netherlands (8.8 %) and the United States (6.0 %) are the second and third most important trading partners concerning imports, respectively.