Exporting to Germany

Germany is highly industrialised, diverse and stable, offering long-term potential for UK businesses. Germany’s market is similar to the UK’s, so if your product or service is successful here it’s likely you’ll be successful there.

Strong trade partnership

Germany is the second largest export market for the UK and accounted for more than 10% of all UK trade in the 4 quarters to the end of Q3 2018. During that period, total trade between the UK and Germany was worth £132 billion.

Digital industry and economy

There is demand in areas of UK strength such as big data, artificial intelligence, cyber security and the internet of things.

Strong framework for investment

Germany offers competitive tax regulations, investment incentives and a secure, highly developed political and economic framework. This is supported by excellent infrastructure, a highly qualified workforce and legal system that protects property and individual rights.

Ease of doing business


out of 190 countries, World Bank 2019



Business languages


You may need a translator

GDP per capita


IMF, UK is $42,558

Economic growth


IMF, 2018

Time zone

GMT +1

Opportunities for exporters

The digitalisation of Germany’s industry and economy will impact all sectors and enhance opportunities associated with business models, manufacturing processes, digital marketplaces and supply chains.

Doing business in Germany

German firms are often family owned and value personal relationships highly. As well as best price, they’ll look for long-term shared vision. Some also prefer to buy locally so you should be clear on what’s unique about your product or service.

Tax and customs

The UK and Germany have signed a double taxation agreement, meaning the same income is not taxed twice. Germany does not have a nationwide tax rate for companies.


The standard rate of VAT in Germany is 19%. Convenience goods and day-to-day services are charged at 7%. Some services including banking, healthcare and non-profit work are VAT exempt. Goods exported from the UK to Germany are zero-rated if your customer provides their VAT registration number.


Trade and commerce laws in Germany are based on EU legislation. The regulatory environment in Germany is very strong. You should make due diligence checks before going ahead with any investment. This is particularly relevant for artisans or business connected with the construction industry.

Packaging and labelling

Packaging is a strong influence on how German consumers choose products. It’s worth carrying out research to ensure that packaging conforms to German tastes. EU standards apply to packaging. For more information see the EU trade helpdesk. Labelling should be translated into German. Certain products, such as food and textiles, have specific labelling requirements.

Protecting your business

Payment terms

Standard payment terms for business-to-business transactions in Germany and the EU are 60 calendar days and 30 calendar days for public authorities. You can claim late payment interest when terms are not met.

Next steps

DIT can advise you on doing business abroad, and help put you in touch with other people who can help such as lawyers and distributors.