Doing business

Current business situation

Germany is one of Australia’s most important and significant trade, investment and tourism markets. Germany is one of the top ten sources of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Australia according to ABS data over the last 10 years, and was Australia's seventh-largest merchandise trading partner in 2015-2016.

Business culture

German business people are experienced in conducting international business. While broadly similar to Australian business practice, the German approach has a higher emphasis on order, hierarchy and formality. Titles (Dr, Professor, etc.) should be used both in correspondence and in face-to-face meetings – business contacts are not normally addressed on a first name basis. It is usual that company representatives address each other by their surname.

For meetings, especially at the executive level, approximately six weeks’ notice is required. Punctuality is very important, if you are late for a meeting call ahead to advise and give as much notice as possible. The peak summer holiday months of July and August are difficult to arrange meetings. In addition, many companies shut down over the Christmas and New Year period.

English is widely spoken, but it is courteous to check.

Setting up in Germany

Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI) has information for those considering setting up a business.

Banking and finance

Frankfurt is a major centre for international business and commerce. More than 60 national and 150 international banks have a registered office in Frankfurt, including the headquarters of the major German banks, as well as about 40 representative offices of international banks.

Links and resources

Government, business and trade

Deutsche Auslandshandelskammern (Chamber of Commerce)
EU Taxation and Customs Union
German Customs ‘Zoll’
Germany Trade and Investment

 

News and media

Die Zeit
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Handelsblatt
Spiegel
Sueddeutsche Zeitung
Wirtschaftswoche

Please note: This list of websites and resources is not definitive. Inclusion in this list does not imply endorsement by Austrade. The information provided is a guide only. The content is for information and carries no warranty; as such, the addressee must exercise their own discretion in its use. Australia’s anti-bribery laws apply overseas and Austrade will not provide business related services to any party who breaches the law and will report credible evidence of any breach. For further information, please see foreign bribery information and awareness pack.