Germany’s Top 10 Imports

Germany's Top 10 Imports


Germany imported US$1.168 trillion worth of goods from around the globe in 2017, down by -1.6% since 2013 but up by 10.1% from 2016 to 2017.

German imports represent 7.3% of total global imports which totaled $16.054 trillion one year earlier in 2016.

From January to August 2018, goods imported into Germany were valued at $866.9 billion. This 8-month metric puts German imports on track for an annualized $1.3 trillion estimated for all 2018.

From a continental lens, 64.4% of Germany’s total imports by value in 2017 were purchased from other European countries. Asian trade partners supplied 22.1% of import purchases by Germany while 7% worth of goods originated from North America. Smaller percentages came from customers in Africa (1.9%) and Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (1.6%).

Given Germany’s population of 80.6 million people, its total $1.168 trillion in 2017 imports translates to roughly $14,500 in yearly product demand from every person in the country.

Germany’s Top 10 Imports

Top 10

The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Germany’s import purchases during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Germany.

  1. Machinery including computers: US$148.5 billion (12.7% of total imports)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: $145.7 billion (12.5%)
  3. Vehicles: $123.2 billion (10.5%)
  4. Mineral fuels including oil: $96.2 billion (8.2%)
  5. Pharmaceuticals: $53.6 billion (4.6%)
  6. Plastics, plastic articles: $44.4 billion (3.8%)
  7. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $40.3 billion (3.4%)
  8. Organic chemicals: $34.1 billion (2.9%)
  9. Iron, steel: $29 billion (2.5%)
  10. Articles of iron or steel: $23.3 billion (2%)

Germany’s top 10 imports accounted for almost two-thirds (63.2%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.

Imported iron or steel had the fastest-growing increase in value among the top 10 import categories, up 25.7% from 2016 to 2017.

In second place was the mineral fuels including oil category (up 22.6%), followed by organic chemicals (up 12.2%) then vehicles (up 10.7%).

The slowest-growing categories year over year was optical, technical and medical apparatus (up 5.4%) and machinery including computers (up 8.6%).

Note that the results listed above are at the categorized two-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. For a more detailed view of imported goods at the four-digit HTS code level, see the section Searchable List of Germany’s Most Valuable Import Products further down near the bottom of this article or under the adjacent product folder tabs.


In 2017, German importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machines including computers:

  1. Computers, optical readers: US$23 billion (up 10.6% from 2016)
  2. Turbo-jets: $9.1 billion (down -6.1%)
  3. Printing machinery: $8.8 billion (up 7.8%)
  4. Piston engine parts: $6.6 billion (up 4.1%)
  5. Taps, valves, similar appliances: $6.2 billion (up 12.1%)
  6. Computer parts, accessories: $5.9 billion (up 48.1%)
  7. Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $5.7 billion (up 5.6%)
  8. Transmission shafts, gears, clutches: $5.5 billion (up 9.1%)
  9. Engines (diesel): $4.8 billion (down -0.4%)
  10. Liquid pumps and elevators: $4.8 billion (up 8.8%)

Among these import subcategories, Germany’s purchases of computer parts or accessories (up 48.1%), taps, valves or similar appliances (up 12.1%) and computers including optical readers (up 10.6%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported machinery among German businesses and consumers.


In 2017, German importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electrical equipment including consumer electronics:

  1. Phone system devices including smartphones: US$22.3 billion (up 5.1% from 2016)
  2. Integrated circuits/microassemblies: $17.2 billion (up 26.3%)
  3. Insulated wire/cable: $10.6 billion (up 11.6%)
  4. Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $7.7 billion (up 8.3%)
  5. TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $6.7 billion (up 10.3%)
  6. Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $6.3 billion (up 16.3%)
  7. Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels: $6.3 billion (up 8.9%)
  8. Electrical converters/power units: $6.1 billion (up 9.6%)
  9. Electric motors, generators: $5.3 billion (up 6.5%)
  10. Electrical lighting/signaling equpment, defrosters: $4.5 billion (up 11.4%)

Among these import subcategories, Germany’s purchases of integrated circuits or microassemblies (up 26.3%), solar power diodes or semi-conductors (up 16.3%) and insulated wire or cable (up 11.6%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported electronics among German businesses and consumers.


In 2017, German importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles:

  1. Cars: US$57.7 billion (up 12.4% from 2016)
  2. Automobile parts/accessories: $41.2 billion (up 9.8%)
  3. Trucks: $5.6 billion (up 1.6%)
  4. Trailers: $2.5 billion (up 14.1%)
  5. Tractors: $2.5 billion (up 2.8%)
  6. Motorcycle parts/accessories: $2.1 billion (up 0.2%)
  7. Motorcycles: $1.5 billion (up 8.8%)
  8. Automobile bodies: $1.1 billion (down -0.1%)
  9. Public-transport vehicles: $988.4 million (up 8.3%)
  10. Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles: $682.8 million (up 1.7%)

Among these import subcategories, Germany’s purchases of trailers (up 14.1%), cars (up 12.4%) and automobile parts or accessories (up 9.8%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported vehicles among German businesses and consumers.


In 2017, German importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products:

  1. Crude oil: US$36.2 billion (up 26.1% from 2016)
  2. Petroleum gases: $28.2 billion (up 21.3%)
  3. Processed petroleum oils: $20.4 billion (up 20.7%)
  4. Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $5.8 billion (up 51.5%)
  5. Electrical energy: $1.2 billion (up 4.6%)
  6. Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $802.8 million (up 16.7%)
  7. Coke, semi-coke: $663.3 million (up 91.5%)
  8. Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $365.2 million (up 11%)
  9. Petroleum oil residues: $272.5 million (up 21.7%)
  10. Peat: $84.5 million (up 14.9%)

Among these import subcategories, Germany’s purchases of coke or semi-coke (up 91.5%), coal, solid fuels made from coal (up 51.5%) and crude oil (up 26.1%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of mineral fuels-related imports among German businesses and consumers.


Searchable List of Germany’s Most Valuable Import Products

At the more granular four-digit HTS code level, Germany’s top import products are cars, auto parts or accessories, crude oil followed by petroleum gases then medication mixes in dosage.

The following searchable table displays 200 of Germany’s most in-demand imported goods during 2017. Shown beside each product label is its total import value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2016.

RankGerman Import Product2017 Value (US$)Change
1Cars$58.5 billion+14.1%
2Automobile parts/accessories$41.8 billion+11.4%
3Crude oil$36.2 billion+26.1%
4Petroleum gases$28.2 billion+21.4%
5Medication mixes in dosage$26 billion+0.1%
6Blood fractions (including antisera)$23 billion+24%
7Computers, optical readers$22.9 billion+10.4%
8Phone system devices including smartphones $22.4 billion+5.2%
9Processed petroleum oils$20.3 billion+19.9%
10Integrated circuits/microassemblies$17.3 billion+26.8%
11Insulated wire/cable$10.7 billion+12%
12Turbo-jets$10.3 billion+6.5%
13Heterocyclics, nucleic acids$9.2 billion+6%
14Aircraft, spacecraft$9.2 billion-33.4%
15Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)$8.9 billion+5.4%
16Printing machinery$8.9 billion+8.5%
17Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)$8.2 billion+3.2%
18Aircraft parts$7.8 billion+35%
19Lower-voltage switches, fuses$7.8 billion+9.8%
20Rubber tires (new)$6.8 billion+3.6%
21TV receivers/monitors/projectors$6.8 billion+12%
22Piston engine parts$6.7 billion+5.4%
23Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels$6.5 billion+11.5%
24Solar power diodes/semi-conductors$6.3 billion+16.9%
25Taps, valves, similar appliances$6.3 billion+13.7%
26Electrical converters/power units$6.1 billion+10%
27Coal, solid fuels made from coal$5.9 billion+54.6%
28Computer parts, accessories$5.8 billion+47.6%
29Miscellaneous plastic items$5.7 billion+11.1%
30Miscellaneous furniture$5.7 billion+3.4%
31Centrifuges, filters and purifiers$5.7 billion+6.6%
32Aluminum (unwrought)$5.7 billion+16.2%
33Trucks$5.6 billion+1.9%
34Transmission shafts, gears, clutches$5.5 billion+9.9%
35Gold (unwrought)$5.4 billion-0.6%
36Orthopedic appliances$5.4 billion+0.9%
37Electric motors, generators$5.4 billion+8.1%
38Liquid pumps and elevators$4.9 billion+10.6%
39Engines (diesel)$4.9 billion+0.4%
40Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)$4.8 billion+8.5%
41Miscellaneous machinery$4.7 billion+10.1%
42Men's suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)$4.7 billion+3.5%
43Footwear (leather)$4.7 billion+8.1%
44Air or vacuum pumps$4.5 billion+6.8%
45Electrical lighting/signaling equpment, defrosters$4.5 billion+12.1%
46Physical/chemical analysis tools$4.4 billion+9.5%
47Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)$4.3 billion+4.3%
48T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)$4.3 billion+6%
49Cheese, curd$4.2 billion+14.1%
50Ball, roller bearings$4.2 billion+10.1%
51Ethylene polymers$4.1 billion+5.6%
52Refined copper, unwrought alloys$4.1 billion+14.6%
53Miscellaneous iron or steel items$4.1 billion+9%
54Electric water heaters, hair dryers$4 billion+6.1%
55Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers$4 billion+11.8%
56Polyacetal/ether/carbonates$4 billion+16.6%
57Electric storage batteries$4 billion+26.1%
58Machinery parts$3.9 billion+11.8%
59Platinum (unwrought)$3.8 billion+35.8%
60Piston engines$3.8 billion+19.7%
61Flat-rolled stainless steel items$3.7 billion+21%
62Cases, handbags, wallets$3.5 billion+5.7%
63Unrecorded sound media$3.5 billion-0.1%
64Coffee$3.5 billion+4.3%
65Plastic packing goods, lids, caps$3.5 billion+5.6%
66Iron ores, concentrates$3.4 billion+40.6%
67Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$3.4 billion+10.1%
68Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs$3.4 billion+2.8%
69Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)$3.4 billion+28.1%
70Precious metal waste, scrap$3.4 billion+19%
71Footwear (textile)$3.3 billion+20.4%
72Aluminum plates, sheets, strips$3.3 billion+13.6%
73Miscellaneous iron and steel structures$3.3 billion+13.5%
74TV/radio/radar device parts$3.2 billion+5.5%
75Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products$3.1 billion+41%
76Vulcanized rubber items$3.1 billion+10.9%
77Models, puzzles, miscellaneous toys$3.1 billion+4.2%
78Amino-compounds (oxygen)$3.1 billion-5.7%
79Other measuring/testing machines$3 billion-7%
80Coated paper$2.9 billion-1.6%
81Other diagnostic/lab reagents$2.9 billion+8.3%
82Propylene/olefin polymers$2.9 billion+17.3%
83Wine $2.9 billion+5.3%
84Regulate/control instruments$2.9 billion+9.8%
85Refrigerators, freezers$2.8 billion+2%
86Copper waste, scrap$2.7 billion+21.7%
87Base metal mountings, fittings$2.7 billion+5.9%
88Rape/colza seeds$2.7 billion+16.1%
89Chemical industry products/residuals$2.7 billion+7.2%
90Microphones/headphones/amps$2.6 billion+14.2%
91Women's clothing (knit or crochet)$2.6 billion+9.8%
92Trailers$2.6 billion+15.4%
93Chemical woodpulp (non-dissolving)$2.5 billion+4.6%
94Cruise/cargo ships, barges$2.5 billion+10%
95TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras$2.5 billion+11.4%
96Tractors$2.5 billion+4.2%
97Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations$2.5 billion+13.3%
98Table games, bowling equipment$2.4 billion+59.4%
99Chocolate, other cocoa preparations$2.4 billion+2.1%
100Footwear (rubber or plastic)$2.4 billion+3.2%
101Pneumatic hand tool$2.3 billion+9.4%
102Electric circuit parts, fuses, switches$2.3 billion+20%
103Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries$2.3 billion+8.3%
104Radar, radio communication items$2.3 billion+13.7%
105Temperature-change machines$2.3 billion+6.5%
106Copper ores, concentrates$2.2 billion+36.3%
107Electrical machinery$2.2 billion-6.4%
108Interchangeable hand/machine tools$2.2 billion+16.6%
109Liquid/gas checking instruments$2.1 billion+7.1%
110Other organic cleaning preparations$2.1 billion+8.1%
111Print/write/draw inks$2.1 billion+3.3%
112Initiators/accelerators, catalytic preps$2.1 billion+8.5%
113Motorcycle parts/accessories$2.1 billion+1.4%
114Miscellaneous engines, motors$2.1 billion+4.3%
115Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers)$2.1 billion+12.9%
116Miscellaneous iron or steel tubes, pipes$2.1 billion+17.5%
117Printed circuits$2.1 billion+7.5%
118Miscellaneous animal feed preparations$2.1 billion+11.4%
119Electric ignition/start equipment$2 billion+7.2%
120Miscellaneous nuts$2 billion+2.9%
121Aluminum bars/rods$2 billion+17.9%
122Women's coats, jackets (not knit or crochet)$2 billion+9.2%
123Air conditioners$2 billion+4%
124Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$2 billion+8.8%
125Iron ferroalloys$1.9 billion+43.8%
126Flat-rolled other alloy steel products$1.9 billion+19%
127Electric motor parts$1.9 billion+4%
128Fresh or chilled beef$1.9 billion+7.6%
129Electrical capacitators$1.8 billion+17.9%
130Harvest/threshing machinery$1.8 billion+7.3%
131Perfumes, toilet waters$1.8 billion+8.5%
132Sulphonamides$1.8 billion+510.1%
133Other machine parts, accessories$1.8 billion+7.4%
134Plastic tubes, pipes, fittings$1.8 billion+13.6%
135Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)$1.8 billion+4.7%
136Swine meat$1.8 billion+11%
137Fish fillets, pieces$1.8 billion-2.6%
138Miscellaneous fresh/chilled vegetables$1.7 billion+6.6%
139Polyamides$1.7 billion+32%
140Not concentrated/unsweetened milk, cream$1.7 billion+56%
141Poultry meat$1.7 billion+8%
142Motorcycles$1.7 billion+18.7%
143Uncoated paper for writing/printing$1.7 billion+7.7%
144Other food preparations$1.6 billion+8.4%
145 Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines $1.6 billion+5.7%
146Jewelry$1.6 billion+11.5%
147Packaged insecticides/fungicides/herbicides$1.6 billion-1%
148Wrist/pocket watches (no precious metal case)$1.6 billion+1.5%
149Acyclic alcohols$1.6 billion+40.2%
150Miscellaneous aluminum items$1.6 billion+6.4%
151Optical fiber cables, sheets, plates$1.6 billion+25.2%
152Railway/streetcar locomotives, rolling stock$1.6 billion+11.9%
153Iron or steel scrap$1.5 billion+39.6%
154Sports equipment$1.5 billion+7.2%
155Fruit and vegetable juices$1.5 billion+11.5%
156Women's shirts (not knit or crochet)$1.5 billion+6.8%
157Paper containers, cellulose wadding$1.5 billion+8.5%
158Rubber/plastic article making machines$1.5 billion+14.3%
159Acyclic hydrocarbons$1.5 billion+4.8%
160Linens$1.5 billion+2.9%
161Electric sound/visual signal bells or alarms$1.5 billion+4.1%
162Live swine$1.5 billion+10%
163Styrene polymers$1.5 billion+19%
164Tomatoes (fresh/chilled)$1.5 billion+13.2%
165Lifting/loading machinery$1.5 billion+20.3%
166Cyclic hydrocarbons$1.4 billion+30.5%
167Synthetic rubber$1.4 billion+25.8%
168Machinery for making semi-conductors$1.4 billion+47.6%
169Safety glasses$1.4 billion+2.9%
170Sawn wood$1.4 billion+4.9%
171Uncoated kraft paper$1.4 billion+6.2%
172Miscellaneous preserved fruits$1.3 billion+6.2%
173Printed books, brochures$1.3 billion+3.4%
174Zinc (unwrought)$1.3 billion+33.7%
175Speed/distance meters$1.3 billion+14.1%
176Glass mirrors$1.3 billion+12.2%
177Miscellaneous live plants$1.3 billion+10.4%
178Moulding boxes/base$1.3 billion+19.8%
179Scents used for beverage or industrial manufacturing$1.3 billion+12.9%
180Vacuum cleaners$1.2 billion+28.5%
181Glass fibers$1.2 billion+6.7%
182Vinyl chloride polymers$1.2 billion+13.3%
183Soya beans$1.2 billion-3.6%
184Alloy steel bars, rods$1.2 billion+17.2%
185X-ray equipment$1.2 billion+5.7%
186Self-adhesive plastic in rolls$1.2 billion+1%
187Amino-resins$1.2 billion+28%
188Fresh or dried citrus fruit$1.2 billion-0.4%
189Fresh or dried flowers (for bouquets, ornamental)$1.2 billion+3.1%
190Men's coats, jackets (not knit or crochet)$1.2 billion+7.8%
191Electromechanic domestic appliances$1.2 billion+7%
192Spray/dispersing mechanical appliances$1.2 billion+1.8%
193Other coloring matter, luminophores$1.2 billion+26.3%
194Electrical energy$1.2 billion+5.2%
195Wood carpentry, builders' joinery$1.2 billion+9.3%
196Aluminum waste, scrap$1.2 billion+23.2%
197Automobile bodies$1.1 billion+0.9%
198Mattresses, quilts$1.1 billion+10.7%
199Miscellaneous fruits (fresh)$1.1 billion+15.7%
200Liquid crystal/laser/optical tools$1.1 billion+30.4%

These 200 imported goods were worth a subtotal of US$855.7 billion or 72.9% by value for all products imported into Germany during 2017.

See also Germany’s Top 10 Exports, Germany’s Top Trading Partners, Top German Trade Balances and Germany’s Top 10 Major Export Companies

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on August 8, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on August 8, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, Accessed on August 8, 2018