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Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Germany - falling imports from New Zealand

I had every intention of writing a blog post when I was actually in countries visited, but that didn't happen and so here I am writing very much post trip.   That failure however does give one time for reflection ...

Our time in Germany didn't get off to a very auspicious start with the e-coli scare uppermost in our minds.   Since I am vegetarian I certainly was careful what I ate in the first few days until it seemed that the crisis was over.   The other story which has dominated the news over the whole holiday has been the concern for the fate of the Greek economy and Germany's involvement in both the problem and the solution.   Looking into the NZ School of Export's file on Germany - a clipping from the DominionPost of March 21, 2010 shows that this has been an ongoing story and concern for some little while and bailout two is still being worked through.

In retrospect I now realise that being held back by Berlin Police on the Unter den Linden while suited gentlemen with briefcases got out of large limos, and seeing a cavalcade of helmeted motorcyclists sirens blaring near the Tiergarten were almost certainly both to do with high level discussions to sort out this problem.

Following re-unification there has been a huge thrust to re-build and build anew and we were impressed by the restoration of the Nikolaikirche in Potsdam (outside of Berlin) and the plans for the new Brandenburg Parliament = Landtag.  In the photo below, the red building outside Nikolaikirche is the Information Centre for the Parliament building.   Towards the end of the socialist era, a building was started on this site and   subsequently demolished so that the historical layout of the city could be recreated. (Photo: Graeme Siddle 10 June, 2011)
New Zealand fruit is being sold in Berlin - however our export trade in apples to Germany seems to have taken a hit in the 2009-2010 period with a 41% drop in value of product!   New Zealand's exports to Germany fell in the year to June 2010 by 22.3% and the trade imbalance was in Germany's favour with New Zealand importing NZD $952 million's worth of merchandise from Germany.  Motor vehicles unsurprisingly, are our major import from Germany.

Germany's exports jumped 17% in 2010 and is now out-exporting the US to China by a factor of three to one.  Despite an active German- New Zealand Business Association (www.germantrade.co.nz)  we don't seem to be cashing in on the export-led recovery in Germany.

Postscript:  we were fortunate to be able to visit Baden-Wurttemburg before we left and did a whistle-stop tour of the the very attractive university town of Tubingen.   Our attention was drawn to this shop window:

If you look carefully you will see two kiwis and a slice of kiwifruit.   The link to shoes was not obvious!! (Photo: Graeme Siddle 14 June 2011)

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