Trade

Germany Saved by China

Germany not only managed to avoid the worst of the recession, but now is feeling an economic renaissance that’s fueling the economy at a pace faster than any time since the Berlin Wall fell. Its secret is China, railed against by American pundits and politicians as a drain on the U.S. economy, but a treasured client to Germans. China is the biggest overseas market for expensive machinery built in Germany; Volkswagen, for example, has sold 1.3 million cars there this year. That’s five times as many cars as it sold in the U.S., one more bit of evidence that a wealthy nation can benefit from China’s surging economy. Smaller manufacturers are profiting, too, by selling to the nouveau riche of China just as they sold to the Americans of 1950s suburbia. And German assembly lines are some of the most advanced in the world, meaning Germans can afford to buy more products built at home. German exports to China are growing twice as fast as America’s; Germany even nearly ran a trade surplus with China in February.