Where age, beauty and success are one

Mittelstand on golden ground

More than two millennia of civilisation in Rhineland-Palatinate have created a unique trade and services sector that is unparalleled in Germany. As early centres of trade along rivers like the Rhine, three of the country’s oldest cities – Trier, Mainz and Worms – formed the important nucleus of a diverse and innovative trade and services sector.

Way back in Roman times, people were trading and exchanging services along Europe’s most important inland waterways. Nowadays, this sector forms the backbone of Rhineland-Palatinate’s economy with over 50,000 firms, of which more than 90% are SMEs (the world-famous German Mittelstand), employing more than 400,000 people and generating a total annual turnover of some €70 bn. Exports are of particular importance for the trade and services sector, which generates more than half its sales abroad.

An increasingly important trading partner is China. Even in the corona year 2020, exports to China rose by an impressive 13.5% and China moved up from ninth to fourth place in the list of Rhineland-Palatinate’s most important trading partners. Pharmaceutical products, food, fodder and machinery drove the surge in exports to China. In 2020, Rhineland-Palatinate’s three leading trading partners in export terms were the USA, France and the Netherlands.

Economic data

Key figures

Around 50,000 trading companies and service providers employ some 400,000 people and generate an overall annual turnover in the high double-digit billions range. The most productive industries are the real estate and housing sector with €193,000 turnover per employee and year followed by the information and communication sector with €156,000.

The growth drivers in exports were pharmaceutical products, food and feed, and machinery. France, the Netherlands and the USA are in the first three places among trading partners.

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