Europe’s largest economy faces a recession amidst the ongoing global pandemic. The coronavirus outbreak turned Europe’s export giant upside down as many countries initiated emergency restrictions. According to Reuters, German exports fell by 11.8% in March, due to the reduced demands of goods. This fall is significant for the country as the German economy primarily depends on its export market. The fall is despite a stimulus package of 750 billion euros to mitigate damages caused by the pandemic. The current stats since the beginning of the outbreak indicate a 3.1% drop in exports and a 1.6% decrease in imports. Several reports predict that Germany could see the worst recession since World War II.
As productions of goods slowed down, so did the demand for imported products. Germany experienced a less stringent lockdown in comparison to some of its neighbours. Most of Europe slowly began to ease restrictions in early May with Germany reopening its economy on April 20.
The Distribution of PPE and Other Goods
Germany, along with the United States and Switzerland, is a powerhouse when it comes to medical supplies. Collectively these three countries represent 35% of the global market. Also, many countries look to China, Germany, and the United States when it comes to the supply of PPE. Over the past few months, several manufactures have been struggling to meet up with the demand for PPE and other medical supplies. As a result, Germany found itself as a significant key player in the global response to COVID-19.
Germany was one of several EU member states to adopt the restriction of exporting PPE. This drastic measure was taken as a result of heightened demand, and fear of shortages after Europe became the epicentre of the virus. In response to the German Order, the EU imposed restrictions on PPE exportation. The exportations of goods such as face masks and protective goggles would be subject to authorisation. Furthermore, the European Union Commission published the COVID-19 Guidelines for Border Management Measures to Protect Health and Ensure the Availability of Goods and Essential Services.
The Guidelines emphasise the need for member states to maintain solidarity in the fight against COVID-19. This includes countries maintaining the integrity of the supply chain and not jeopardise the integrity of the EU single market for goods. In terms of medical goods specifically, the Guidelines stipulate that member states should preserve the free circulation of all goods.
After positive data over the last few weeks, The export ban on medical goods has since then been lifted by Germany.
Member states of the Schengen zone took an unprecedented decision to close all land borders temporarily. This closure imposed restrictions and control of movement across neighbouring countries. The commission made provision for the exportation and importation of essential goods and products.
As the country opens up its economy, the travel sector still awaits further confirmation on when to resume operations. To learn more about the easing of travel restriction in Germany, visit our page – Travel Restrictions in Germany During COVID-19.