Germany’s Top 10 Imports

Germany's Top 10 Imports


Germany imported US$1.287 trillion worth of goods from around the globe in 2018, up by 5.9% since 2014 and up by 9.7% from 2017 to 2018.

German imports represent 7.2% of total global imports which totaled an estimated $17.788 trillion one year earlier in 2017.

From a continental lens, 64.3% of Germany’s total imports by value in 2018 were purchased from fellow European countries. Asian trade partners satisfied 22.1% of import purchases by Germany while 7.1% worth of goods originated from North America. Smaller percentages came from customers in Africa (2%), Latin America (1.4%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and Oceania (0.3%) led by Australia.

Given Germany’s population of 80.5 million people, its total $1.287 trillion in 2018 imports translates to roughly $16,900 in yearly product demand from every person in the European republic.

Germany’s Top 10 Imports

Top 10

The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Germany’s import purchases during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Germany.

  1. Machinery including computers: US$165.5 billion (12.9% of total imports)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: $159.1 billion (12.4%)
  3. Vehicles: $131.1 billion (10.2%)
  4. Mineral fuels including oil: $117.9 billion (9.2%)
  5. Pharmaceuticals: $57.9 billion (4.5%)
  6. Plastics, plastic articles: $49 billion (3.8%)
  7. Organic chemicals: $46.4 billion (3.6%)
  8. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $44.2 billion (3.4%)
  9. Iron, steel: $33.3 billion (2.6%)
  10. Articles of iron or steel: $25.6 billion (2%)

Germany’s top 10 imports accounted for almost two-thirds (64.5%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.

Organic chemicals had the fastest-growing increase in value among the top 10 import categories, up 35.3% from 2017 to 2018.

In second place was the mineral fuels including oil category (up 22.7%), followed by iron and steel (up 15.1%) then plastics including items made from plastic (up 10.3%).

Slowest-growing year over year was the vehicles category, thanks to its 5.3% expansion.

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 2018, German importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machines including computers.

  1. Computers, optical readers: US$24.6 billion (up 7.5% from 2017)
  2. Turbo-jets: $12.2 billion (up 17.9%)
  3. Printing machinery: $9.9 billion (up 11%)
  4. Piston engine parts: $7.2 billion (up 7.4%)
  5. Taps, valves, similar appliances: $7 billion (up 11.1%)
  6. Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $6.3 billion (up 10.3%)
  7. Computer parts, accessories: $6.3 billion (up 7.1%)
  8. Transmission shafts, gears, clutches: $6.1 billion (up 10.8%)
  9. Miscellaneous machinery: $5.5 billion (up 16.4%)
  10. Liquid pumps and elevators: $5.2 billion (up 7.2%)

Among these import subcategories, German purchases of turbo-jets (up 17.9%), miscellaneous machinery (up 16.4%) and taps, valves or similar appliances (up 11.1%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

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 2018, German importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electrical equipment including consumer electronics.

  1. Phone system devices including smartphones: US$24.1 billion (up 7.7% from 2017)
  2. Integrated circuits/microassemblies: $19.5 billion (up 12.7%)
  3. Insulated wire/cable: $11.5 billion (up 7.7%)
  4. Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $8.5 billion (up 8.3%)
  5. Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels: $7.5 billion (up 16.2%)
  6. Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $7.2 billion (up 13.4%)
  7. Electrical converters/power units: $6.8 billion (up 11.3%)
  8. TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $6.4 billion (down -4.6%)
  9. Electric motors, generators: $5.9 billion (up 10.7%)
  10. Electrical lighting/signaling equpment, defrosters: $4.6 billion (up 3.8%)

Among these import subcategories, German purchases of electrical and optical circuit boards or panels (up 16.2%), solar power diodes and semi-conductors (up 13.4%) and integrated circuits or microassemblies (up 12.7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

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 2018, German importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles.

  1. Cars: US$61.5 billion (up 5.2% from 2017)
  2. Automobile parts/accessories: $43.8 billion (up 4.8%)
  3. Trucks: $7.1 billion (up 27.2%)
  4. Tractors: $3.2 billion (up 27.4%)
  5. Trailers: $2.9 billion (up 12.2%)
  6. Motorcycle parts/accessories: $2.3 billion (up 9.5%)
  7. Motorcycles: $2 billion (up 20.2%)
  8. Public-transport vehicles: $1 billion (up 5.2%)
  9. Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles: $757.4 million (up 9.2%)
  10. Special purpose vehicles: $563.3 million (up 26.4%)

Among these import subcategories, German purchases of tractors (up 27.4%), trucks (up 27.2%) and special purpose vehicles (up 26.4%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

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 2018, German importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products.

  1. Crude oil: US$45.1 billion (up 24.4% from 2017)
  2. Petroleum gases: $33.8 billion (up 19.7%)
  3. Processed petroleum oils: $25.6 billion (up 26.3%)
  4. Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $5.7 billion (down -3.6%)
  5. Electrical energy: $1.6 billion (up 35%)
  6. Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $746.3 million (down -7.5%)
  7. Coke, semi-coke: $736.2 million (up 10.6%)
  8. Petroleum oil residues: $509.7 million (up 86.7%)
  9. Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $360.8 million (down -1.4%)
  10. Peat: $99.9 million (up 17.3%)

Among these import subcategories, German purchases of petroleum oil residues (up 86.7%), electrical energy (up 35%) and processed petroleum oils (up 26.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

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 2018. Shown beside each product label is its total import value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2017.

RankGermany's Import Product2018 Value (US$)Change
1Cars$61.5 billion+5.2%
2Crude oil$45.1 billion+24.4%
3Automobile parts/accessories$43.8 billion+4.8%
4Petroleum gases$33.8 billion+19.7%
5Medication mixes in dosage$28.6 billion+9.9%
6Processed petroleum oils$25.6 billion+26.3%
7Computers, optical readers$24.6 billion+7.5%
8Phone system devices including smartphones$24.1 billion+7.7%
9Blood fractions (including antisera)$24.1 billion+4.7%
10Integrated circuits/microassemblies$19.5 billion+12.7%
11Heterocyclics, nucleic acids$15.8 billion+70.6%
12Turbo-jets$12.2 billion+17.9%
13Insulated wire/cable$11.5 billion+7.7%
14Printing machinery$9.9 billion+11%
15Electro-medical equipment (e.g. xrays)$9.8 billion+9.8%
16Aircraft parts$9.1 billion+15.8%
17Lower-voltage switches, fuses$8.5 billion+8.3%
18Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)$8.5 billion+3.6%
19Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels$7.5 billion+16.2%
20Rubber tires (new)$7.3 billion+7%
21Solar power diodes/semi-conductors$7.2 billion+13.4%
22Piston engine parts$7.2 billion+7.4%
23Trucks$7.1 billion+27.2%
24Aircraft, spacecraft$7 billion-23.9%
25Taps, valves, similar appliances$7 billion+11.1%
26Electrical converters/power units$6.8 billion+11.3%
27TV receivers/monitors/projectors$6.4 billion-4.6%
28Centrifuges, filters and purifiers$6.3 billion+10.3%
29Miscellaneous plastic items$6.3 billion+9.6%
30Computer parts, accessories$6.3 billion+7.1%
31Aluminum (unwrought)$6.2 billion+8.5%
32Transmission shafts, gears, clutches$6.1 billion+10.8%
33Miscellaneous furniture$6 billion+5.5%
34Electric motors, generators$5.9 billion+10.7%
35Coal, solid fuels made from coal$5.7 billion-3.6%
36Miscellaneous machinery$5.5 billion+16.4%
37Orthopedic appliances$5.5 billion+1.4%
38Footwear (leather)$5.3 billion+14%
39Liquid pumps and elevators$5.2 billion+7.2%
40Air or vacuum pumps$5.2 billion+13.9%
41Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)$4.9 billion+2%
42Men's suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)$4.8 billion+2.7%
43Miscellaneous iron or steel items$4.8 billion+16.8%
44Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)$4.7 billion+9.8%
45Ball, roller bearings$4.7 billion+11.3%
46Physical/chemical analysis tools$4.7 billion+6.9%
47Electrical lighting/signaling equpment, defrosters$4.6 billion+3.8%
48Refined copper, unwrought alloys$4.6 billion+11.6%
49Sulphonamides$4.6 billion+156.5%
50Gold (unwrought)$4.6 billion-15.8%
51Engines (diesel)$4.5 billion-7.1%
52Machinery parts$4.5 billion+16.4%
53Electric storage batteries$4.5 billion+13.3%
54Polyacetal/ether/carbonates$4.5 billion+12.7%
55Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers$4.4 billion+11.4%
56Platinum (unwrought)$4.4 billion+14.7%
57Cheese, curd$4.4 billion+3.6%
58T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)$4.4 billion+2.4%
59Ethylene polymers$4.3 billion+2.9%
60Electric water heaters, hair dryers$4.1 billion+3.1%
61Piston engines$4.1 billion+7.5%
62Precious metal waste, scrap$4 billion+18.6%
63Flat-rolled stainless steel items$4 billion+9.3%
64Plastic packing goods, lids, caps$3.9 billion+11.9%
65Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)$3.9 billion+14.1%
66Footwear (textile)$3.7 billion+13.2%
67Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$3.7 billion+6.9%
68Cases, handbags, wallets$3.6 billion+3.2%
69Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs$3.6 billion+6.2%
70Iron ores, concentrates$3.6 billion+3.7%
71Other measuring/testing machines$3.5 billion+16.1%
72Miscellaneous iron and steel structures$3.5 billion+7.5%
73Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products$3.5 billion+10.7%
74Coffee$3.5 billion-1.6%
75Aluminum plates, sheets, strips$3.4 billion+3.4%
76Models, puzzles, miscellaneous toys$3.3 billion+7.2%
77Vulcanized rubber items$3.3 billion+6.7%
78Unrecorded sound media$3.3 billion-6.9%
79Propylene/olefin polymers$3.3 billion+13.7%
80Regulate/control instruments$3.2 billion+12.4%
81Tractors$3.2 billion+27.4%
82Coated paper$3.1 billion+7.2%
83TV/radio/radar device parts$3.1 billion-3.4%
84Wine $3.1 billion+7.7%
85Refrigerators, freezers$3.1 billion+12%
86Chemical industry products/residuals$3.1 billion+15.6%
87Chemical woodpulp (non-dissolving)$3 billion+18.9%
88Amino-compounds (oxygen)$3 billion-3.1%
89Other diagnostic/lab reagents$3 billion+2.9%
90Copper waste, scrap$2.9 billion+7.8%
91Women's clothing (knit or crochet)$2.9 billion+10.1%
92Table games, bowling equipment$2.9 billion+18.6%
93Trailers$2.9 billion+12.2%
94Base metal mountings, fittings$2.9 billion+5.8%
95Microphones/headphones/amps$2.9 billion+7.7%
96Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations$2.7 billion+7.9%
97Miscellaneous engines, motors$2.6 billion+25.5%
98Electric circuit parts, fuses, switches$2.6 billion+13.2%
99TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras$2.6 billion+2.1%
100Initiators/accelerators, catalytic preps$2.5 billion+20.5%
101Rape/colza seeds$2.5 billion-6.6%
102Footwear (rubber or plastic)$2.5 billion+4.5%
103Temperature-change machines$2.5 billion+9.2%
104Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries$2.4 billion+7.9%
105Electrical capacitators$2.4 billion+32.2%
106Other organic cleaning preparations$2.4 billion+14%
107Liquid/gas checking instruments$2.4 billion+13.4%
108Pneumatic hand tool$2.4 billion+3.6%
109Chocolate, other cocoa preparations$2.4 billion+0%
110Miscellaneous animal feed preparations$2.4 billion+15.4%
111Interchangeable hand/machine tools$2.3 billion+4.8%
112Copper ores, concentrates$2.3 billion+3.7%
113Motorcycle parts/accessories$2.3 billion+9.5%
114Iron ferroalloys$2.3 billion+19%
115Miscellaneous iron or steel tubes, pipes$2.3 billion+9.9%
116Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers)$2.3 billion+7.7%
117Electrical machinery$2.2 billion+0.6%
118Aluminum bars/rods$2.2 billion+10.8%
119Printed circuits$2.2 billion+6.1%
120Print/write/draw inks$2.1 billion+0.8%
121Air conditioners$2.1 billion+8.6%
122Electric motor parts$2.1 billion+11.5%
123Miscellaneous nuts$2.1 billion+5.2%
124Coins$2.1 billion+628.2%
125Women's coats, jackets (not knit or crochet)$2.1 billion+6%
126Flat-rolled other alloy steel products$2.1 billion+8.9%
127Harvest/threshing machinery$2.1 billion+13.9%
128Polyamides$2.1 billion+21.3%
129Electric ignition/start equipment$2.1 billion+1.7%
130Motorcycles$2 billion+20.2%
131Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$2 billion+2.7%
132Other machine parts, accessories$2 billion+12.2%
133Acyclic hydrocarbons$2 billion+33.3%
134Radar, radio communication items$2 billion-12.4%
135Plastic tubes, pipes, fittings$2 billion+11.4%
136Poultry meat$2 billion+15.5%
137Fresh or chilled beef$1.9 billion+0.6%
138Cruise/cargo ships, barges$1.9 billion-25.6%
139Perfumes, toilet waters$1.9 billion+2.7%
140Railway/tram locomotives, rolling stock$1.8 billion+17.2%
141Sports equipment$1.8 billion+18.1%
142 Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines $1.8 billion+10.1%
143Other food preparations$1.8 billion+8%
144Uncoated paper for writing/printing$1.8 billion+5.4%
145Miscellaneous fresh/chilled vegetables$1.8 billion+1.4%
146Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)$1.8 billion-0.5%
147Optical fiber cables, sheets, plates$1.7 billion+9.5%
148Fish fillets, pieces$1.7 billion-1.5%
149Swine meat$1.7 billion-4.7%
150Miscellaneous aluminum items$1.7 billion+5.8%
151Acyclic alcohols$1.7 billion+4.8%
152Jewelry$1.7 billion+3%
153Fruit and vegetable juices$1.7 billion+10.4%
154Packaged insecticides/fungicides/herbicides$1.7 billion+2.8%
155Iron or steel scrap$1.7 billion+8.6%
156Lifting/loading machinery$1.6 billion+12.1%
157Styrene polymers$1.6 billion+8.2%
158Rubber/plastic article making machines$1.6 billion+6.4%
159Paper containers, cellulose wadding$1.6 billion+6.1%
160Electrical energy$1.6 billion+35%
161Alloy steel bars, rods$1.6 billion+29.6%
162Linens$1.6 billion+5%
163Uncoated kraft paper$1.5 billion+13.8%
164Vacuum cleaners$1.5 billion+23.9%
165Sawn wood$1.5 billion+13%
166Women's shirts (not knit or crochet)$1.5 billion-0.1%
167Printed books, brochures$1.5 billion+14.7%
168Not concentrated/unsweetened milk, cream$1.5 billion-12.5%
169Soya beans$1.5 billion+20.3%
170Electric sound/visual signal bells or alarms$1.5 billion-0.7%
171Speed/distance meters$1.5 billion+12.8%
172Tomatoes$1.5 billion0%
173Safety glass$1.4 billion+5.9%
174Cyclic hydrocarbons$1.4 billion+2%
175Miscellaneous heterocyclics$1.4 billion+39.1%
176Scents used for beverage or industrial manufacturing$1.4 billion+12.1%
177X-ray equipment$1.4 billion+14.1%
178Amino-resins$1.4 billion+15.8%
179Aluminum waste, scrap$1.4 billion+19.3%
180Wrist/pocket watches (no precious metal case)$1.4 billion-14.7%
181Miscellaneous live plants$1.4 billion+7.5%
182Synthetic rubber$1.4 billion-1.6%
183Zinc (unwrought)$1.4 billion+4.3%
184Moulding boxes/base$1.3 billion+4.6%
185Vinyl chloride polymers$1.3 billion+7.2%
186Spray/dispersing mechanical appliances$1.3 billion+13%
187Iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods$1.3 billion+23.7%
188Miscellaneous fruits (fresh)$1.3 billion+18.3%
189Glass fibers$1.3 billion+5.4%
190Wood carpentry, builders' joinery$1.3 billion+12.1%
191Biodiesel$1.3 billion+44.8%
192Fresh or dried citrus fruit$1.3 billion+8.6%
193Self-adhesive plastic in rolls$1.3 billion+6.4%
194Cigars/cigarellos, cigarettes$1.3 billion+39.7%
195Miscellaneous preserved fruits$1.3 billion-4.8%
196Machinery for making semi-conductors$1.3 billion-7.4%
197Electrical resistors$1.3 billion+16.6%
198Other coloring matter, luminophores$1.3 billion+7.4%
199Iron or steel pipe fittings$1.3 billion+18%
200Fresh or dried flowers (for bouquets, ornamental)$1.2 billion+5%

These 200 imported goods were worth a subtotal of US$941.9 billion or 73.2% by value for all products imported into Germany during 2018.

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 February 24, 2019

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on February 24, 2019

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on February 25, 2019