German exports to the United States fell 10.5 percent in January as the strong euro made German goods more expensive in dollar terms, Germany's statistics agency said on Tuesday. Exports to Germany's number two trading partner after France fell to €4.9 billion ($5.9 billion). The fall is worrying to economists, since exports account for around one third of the German economy. It is feared a strong euro could stifle economic growth. The euro has risen around 16 percent against the dollar since the start of 2003, although it has now fallen off its record highs. Despite the sag in U.S. business, overall exports were up and trade with China enjoyed rapid growth, jumping 21.7 percent to €1.7 billion ($2 billion). China is seen as an increasingly important market for Germany and business leaders predict long-term growth there.