Börner said in an interview with newspaper Berliner Zeitung that China was suffering much more than Germany in the current global downturn because the Asian country's exports consist of mainly consumer goods, for which global demand has plunged sharply. In contrast, Germany's exports in key industrial goods will help the country better weather the crisis, Börner said.
But he admitted that despite having distinct advantages over China which would help it to continue being the world's largest exporter, Germany would see its export industry lose steam in 2009.
Börner said he was confident that German exporters would hold their own amid buckling global demand because of the high quality of their products.
“We haven't been the world's biggest exporter for so many years because we're German or because we're so cheap. It's because we're the best,” he said.
Börner told the Tagesspiegel am Sonntag that China's current slowdown didn't pose a threat to German industry.
“The Chinese have to restructure their economy in the long run and they need new industrial facilities for that. That's where German industry can step in.”
Earlier this week, new data showed that Germany's 2008 trade surplus fell by 8.7 percent from 2007 to €178.2 billion amid weakening demand for automobiles and machine tools, hard-core components of German export might.
Another host of figures showed that the German economy shrank 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, the worst decline since reunification and far worse than most analysts had expected.