Trade between Germany and Russia has decreased considerably, meaning that Poland has once again become Berlin's main business partner in Eastern Europe. Prospects for Ukraine ties remained blurred, a study said.
Following a record German-Russian trade volume of 80.5 billion euros ($109.9 billion) in 2012, figures for last year suggested a marked cooling of business activities between the two nations, with the 2013 trade volume amounting to only 76.5 billion euros.
German Industry's Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations (OA) reported on Thursday that the figures also meant that Poland had overtaken Russia as Germany's most important trading partner in Eastern Europe, with 2013 trade volumes between the two countries reaching 78 billion euros, marking a 4-percent increase year-on-year.
"Since 2011, Russia's growth rate has dipped steadily, and this is increasingly having an impact on trade between that country and Germany," OA Chairman Eckhard Cordes said in a statement. "We do not expect a trend reversal in the current year, on the contrary, considering a possible recession in Russia and costlier exports because of the much weaker ruble."
Signs of reform
Cordes added, though, that his committee was glad about recent signals from Moscow indicating the government's willingness to improve conditions on the ground for foreign investors.
OA Managing Director Rainer Lindner pointed out that while the situation with Ukraine was problematic at the moment given the political turmoil in recent weeks, German exports dropped by 5.4 billion euros in 2013 already, preceding most of the conflict in Kyiv.
Lindner, who's currently in Ukraine, said it's important for the country to receive foreign emergency funds immediately to help it avoid bankruptcy.
hg/msh (dpa, Reuters)