Germany economy Joern Pollex/Getty Images

Die Kunst, den deutschen Leistungsbilanzüberschuss zu verstehen

BERLIN – Wenngleich der deutsche Leistungsbilanzüberschuss nicht auf der offiziellen Agenda des G20-Gipfels in Hamburg steht, wird das Thema gewiss für Spannungen zwischen den dort versammelten Staats- und Regierungschefs sorgen. Nachdem dieser schon seit langem ein Stein des Anstoßes für viele Handelspartner Deutschlands gewesen war, erreichte er im Jahr 2016 mit 8,3 % des nominalen BIP einen neuen Höchstwert; der Überschuss gegenüber den USA machte dabei den größten Teil aus.

Sicherlich könnte die deutsche Volkswirtschaft selbst Vorzüge aus wirtschaftspolitischen Maßnahmen ziehen, die im Nebeneffekt zu einer Verringerung dieses Überschusses führten. Jedoch sind solche Änderungen nur dann sinnvoll, wenn sie von nüchternen Überlegungen geleitet werden – und von Politikern diskutiert werden, die die wechselseitigen Vorteile des internationalen Handels verstehen, die ökonomischen Anpassungsprozessen genügend Zeit gewähren und die nicht der Illusion erliegen, Volkwirtschaften ließen sich lenken wie große Firmen.

Internationaler Handel ist kein Nullsummenspiel. Ein Leistungsbilanzdefizit per se ist kein eindeutiger Indikator eines „schlechten Deals“ und Überschuss nicht zwangsläufig ein Grund zum Feiern. Vielmehr sind beide, Defizit und Überschuss, Ergebnis einer Vielzahl von Entscheidungen, von denen alle Beteiligten für sich Vorteile erwarten.

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