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Germany replaces US as country with best international image

Germany enjoys the best reputation of any country in the world, according to the latest Nation Brands Index. The survey found that there is much more than Germany's economic motor driving the positive image.

Germany has replaced the US as the country with the best "brand image," according to a new study of 50 countries released Thursday.

The Nation Brands Index (NBI) survey, carried out by German-based market research firm GfK and the British political consultant Simon Anholt, measured public opinion around the world on "the power and quality of each country's 'brand image.'"

Germany moved up to first place after coming in second in 2016. The US dropped from top to sixth, with France, Britain, Canada and Japan taking spots two to five.

Read more: Opinion: The world loves us Germans

Infografik Nationale Marken ENG

Not just a pretty car

The study calculated the final NBI score by researching how well people viewed a country across six categories: its people, governance, exports, tourism, investment and immigration, and culture and heritage.

The land of sausages, Merkel and "Made in Germany" was in the top five in all but one category. Only in "tourism" did Germany fall outside the top five, coming in 10th.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel welcomed the results, saying: "Germany's image no longer rests on our economic strength. People think we're capable of much in the world."

Read more: How Berlin has ruined living anywhere else

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'The Trump effect'

Foreigners' views of the US worsened considerably compared to 2016, particularly in the category "governance," where it slipped from spot 19 to spot 23.

The "Trump effect" explains the fall, according to Anholt.

"The loss of the US's image in the governance category is indicative of the Trump effect, which was triggered by President Trump's policies and his 'America First' message," he said.

Americans themselves nevertheless viewed their country more positively than in 2016.

Read more: Joseph Nye: Trump's tweets harm US soft power

France back, Britain steady

France went up three spots after coming in fifth in 2016 thanks to better scores in "governance" and "investment and immigration."

The land of fine wine, Balzac and Voltaire came in No. 1 for "culture."

Britain stayed steady at spot 3, despite fears the country's exit from the European Union (EU) would damage the country's international image.

Read more: The Macron effect: France now world's top 'soft power' thanks to president, cuisine and culture

amp/rt (Reuters, dpa)

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