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Business Briefs

The U.S. buys less from Germany as France ranks number one on Germany's export trading lists; Germans are nervous about job security and the Irish airline Ryanair knocks down a competitor.


Vive la France - Germany's number one trading partner

France is Germany's Number One Trading Partner

France became Germany's number one trading partner for the second year in a row, ahead of the U.S. and Great Britain, according to annual figures by the Federal Statistics Office. Exports to the country, which has become an important political ally as well, made up 10.8 percent of Germany's exports last year. The figure was just a hair above the percentage America claims in annual German exports. The US, which remained among Germany's top three importers, bought less German products than the year before and claimed only 10.3 percent of the country's overall exports. Not much changed in the ranking of the country's remaining trading partners. Economically depressed Japan dropped to rungs from 12 to 14, and was replaced at that position by China. Russia, a country to which Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has been keeping important ties, rose two rungs from 17 to 15 in overall trade.

One in three in Germany worry about their jobs

Every third German is worried about their job future, according to a study released in Nuremberg on Friday. Bombarded by doomsday headlines on the state of the German economy and rising unemployment rates, the 10,000 German workers polled across the country said they don't know how much longer they will keep their jobs. In the former East Germany, which has been especially hard-hit, every second person is worried about their job. Even in rich states like Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg in the south, 28 percent of those polled say they fear for their job.

No-frills carrier Ryanair buys up Dutch competitor Buzz

European low-fare airline leader Ryanair confirmed the acquisition of certain assets of Buzz, a subsidiary of Dutch airline KLM, on Friday. The Irish no-frills carrier paid €20.1 million for Buzz, less than the €23.9 million it was going to originally shell out. Ryanair said the lowered price was due to a number of factors: KLM retained the building housing Buzz's offices at London-Stansted Airport and would also take over 470 former Buzz employees. Ryanair said it was going to take on a maximum of 130 former Buzz workers. Those employees will work in a new subsidiary of Ryanair. Buzz Stansted Ltd. will operate 10 aircraft and hopes to start services on May 1, 2003, according to the company.

Compiled with information from news services