With its 18 million inhabitants North Rhine-Westphalia is the federal state with the highest population and the strongest economy in Germany. NRW is moreover not just Germany’s export, but also import champion and has been so without interruption for more than 40 years. The share of the total German exports is – counted over the last ten years – on average 18 %. With the imports the share of the total German imports in the same period of time is even 23 %. If North Rhine-Westphalia were an independent state it would – based on the GDP alone – already rank 17 in the leading industrial nations in the world.
The AHV NRW Foreign Trade Association of North Rhine-Westphalia, "registered association", was founded as “Organisation of the foreign trade companies in North Rhine-Westphalia” in 1946. It has its origin in Remscheid-Hasten, the tool region of North Rhine-Westphalia. As an amalgamation of international trading companies the AHV NRW has since then continuously shown its commitment for the safeguarding and promotion of foreign trade interests. Central aims are the practice-related improvements in the basic conditions for international trade as well as the political support of the foreign business.