The German Economy and East-Central Europe: The Development of Intra-Industry Trade from Ostpolitik to the Present

in German Politics and Society
Author: Stephen Gross
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Over the past decade Germany has had one of the most successful

economies in the developed world. Despite the ongoing Euro crisis unemployment

has fallen below 7 percent, reaching its lowest levels since German

reunification in 1990. Germany’s youth unemployment is among the

lowest in Europe, far beneath the European average.1 One of the most

important engines of the German economy today, and in fact throughout

the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, has been its export sector. As Ludwig

Erhard, West Germany’s Economics Minister during the Wirtschaftswunder

of the 1950s remarked: “foreign trade is quite simply the core and

premise of our economic and social order.”2 According to various estimates,

today exports and imports of goods and services account for nearly a half of

German GDP—up from only a quarter in 1990. Germany is one of only three

economies that do over a trillion dollars worth of exports a year, the other

two being the United States and China.