Germany produces, among other things, electronics equipment, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, precision engineering products, automobiles and communications equipment. The country's best known cultural exports include the music of Richard Wagner, Johannes Brahms, Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven and the works of Thomas Mann, Schiller, Brecht, Kant, Nietzsche, Goethe and Luther.
In 2012, Germany exported goods worth about $1.5 trillion. The country's primary exports include foodstuffs, textiles, transport equipment, machinery, metals, rubber and plastic products. Its primary export partners include the European Union, of which it is a member, the United States, China, Switzerland and Russia. Germany is the world's largest producer of lignite, a combustible sedimentary rock that is also known as brown coal. It is primarily used for power generation. The country is also a large producer of natural gas, copper, uranium, iron ore, salt, potash and timber. Germany leads the world in the production of solar power equipment and windmills.
Volkswagen, Daimler, Siemens, BMW, BASF, Bayer, Mack, Adidas, Puma, Deutsche Bank, Henkel, Miele are some well-known global companies with their headquarters in Germany. Renowned brands that have their roots in Germany include SAP, Nivea, Mercedes, Porsche, Audi and Lufthansa.
At the heart of Germany's export engine is the Mittelstand, the country's small and medium enterprises. Producing everything from sophisticated software to high-quality engineering equipment, these businesses make up 99 percent of Germany's corporate landscape and provide 60 percent of the country's jobs. German law considers any organization with less than 500 employees an SME.