Composing the Right Mix for You

Test Tube with Pipette | © iStockphoto

Source: Test Tube with Pipette | © iStockphoto

Industry Overview

The chemical industry in Germany plays a key role in the country's economy. In 2012, Germany's chemical production ranked fourth worldwide and was number one in Europe, concentrating its production on primary and consumer products. Primary products include goods like plastics, lacquer and synthetic fibers for the production of industrial products, and consumer products include pharmaceuticals, detergents and cosmetics. Today, there are several well known chemical and pharmaceutical giants in Germany. The chemical sector has also become the main driving force behind Germany's strong position in international trade. Have a look at our numbers and see what we have to offer.

Our Industry in Numbers

  • Industry ranks fourth in global sales.
  • Largest chemical industry in Europe in terms of turnover.
  • Sector turnover amounted to EUR 190,800 billion in 2014.
  • In 2014, the sector employed nearly 444,800 people (450,000 EUR revenue/employee)
  • The domestic industry exported EUR 169,500 billion in 2014, which is almost 90% of the annual turnover.
  • The sector imported 116,600 EUR billion in 2014.
  • EUR 10.5 billion R&D expenditures in 2014, including pharmaceuticals.

Market Potential

Germany's leadership in the chemical industry and its proximity to the rest of the EU make the country an ideal location for the distribution of products within Europe. The chemical sector produces a wide range of goods that are either sold as end products or are used as input products in other processing industries. Since 2005, the amount of chemical products' imports into Germany has increased steadily and is projected to expand even further. Many of these chemicals are also imported as raw materials, processed within Germany and then re-exported afterwards. There are 2,000 chemical companies active in Germany; approximately ninety percent are small to medium sized enterprises. Many of these chemical companies are interested in importing raw materials from reliable suppliers in order to secure their production.

Market Access

Companies dealing with chemical goods must ensure that their products are safe at all stages along the supply chain. For this reason, the European Community introduced the chemical legislation REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of chemical products). The main goal of REACH is to ensure that all chemical substances present in the production of products and in imported products meet all European health and safety requirements. Manufacturers and importers must provide data for all substances produced or imported into the EU above one tonne per year. This data should be filed in a registration form, which should be submitted to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

Distribution Channels

Foreign exporters planning to enter the German market with chemical products have the possibility of contracting specialized wholesalers and distributors in the field. Generally, these specialized companies are also importers of chemical products and have in-depth knowledge of the import regulations, packaging, labelling and transporting of these products. The Association for the German Chemical Industry (VCI) is the first stop for anyone interested in the German chemical sector. This association offers up-to-date and reliable information about the sector and represents the interests of 1.600 German companies and foreign subsidiaries in the chemical branch. The VCI, along with the German Association of Chemical Trade and Distribution (VCH), also offers a database for products, services and manufacturers in the chemical industry called Chemcompass.

The German Association of Chemical Trade and Distribution (VCH) acts as a service and information center for its members. The Association concentrates on topics like the appropriate storage and handling of chemicals. It also overviews and supports its members in the following areas: the chemicals and labor protection laws, environmental law, the marketing of substances, the transportation of dangerous goods and environmental protection.