Click here to read Rabobank's economic vision for this country. The information and publications in this tab are prepared and made available by third parties and are only available in English. No rights can be derived. Rabobank is not responsible or liable for the information and publications. Click here for the full disclaimer.

Trade Profile

In this page: Foreign Trade in Figures | Trade Compliance | Standards

 

Foreign Trade in Figures

France is one of the world's eight leading exporters. Trade represents more than 60% of the country's GDP (2016).

However, the country registers a strong structural trade deficit. Imports are developing quickly, as the French population buys a substantial amount of imported goods, which are sold at cheaper prices on the local market compared with products that are 'Made in France'. Energy imports also affect the current account balance. In addition, despite the Government's efforts to favour innovation, French exports have a relatively low added value. After reaching a record high in 2011, France's trade deficit showed a decrease until 2015. Since then, acceleration of imports led to higher trade deficits (EUR 48.3 billion in 2016 and EUR 34.4 billion during the first half of 2017)

France's main trade partners are the European Union, the United States and China. France exports essentially vehicles, pharmaceutical products, food products (wine), hydrocarbons and electronical components. The country imports many consumer goods, vehicles, hydrocarbons and pharmaceutical products.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20122013201420152016
Imports of Goods (million USD) 674,415681,467676,603572,661573,022
Exports of Goods (million USD) 568,708580,963580,471505,897501,263
Imports of Services (million USD) 202,228226,193251,769228,159235,679
Exports of Services (million USD) 233,702255,311274,699239,682236,760
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 0.72.14.76.63.7
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 2.51.93.36.11.2
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 30.730.530.831.231.2
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 28.528.628.829.829.4
Trade Balance (million USD) -69,635-56,631-54,206-26,681-30,210
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 59.259.159.761.160.6

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) - 2017; World Bank - 2017

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2016
Germany 16.1%
Spain 7.5%
United States 7.4%
Italy 7.3%
United Kingdom 7.0%
Belgium 6.8%
China 3.6%
Netherlands 3.6%
Switzerland 3.5%
Poland 1.9%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2016
Germany 16.9%
China 9.1%
Italy 7.5%
United States 7.1%
Belgium 6.8%
Spain 6.4%
Netherlands 4.6%
United Kingdom 3.8%
Switzerland 2.8%
Japan 1.9%

Source: Comtrade, 2017

 

Main Products

488.9 bn USD of products exported in 2016
Powered aircraft e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes; spacecraft, incl. satellites, and suborbital and spacecraft launch vehicles 9.4%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 4.7%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 3.8%
Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705, n.e.s. 3.0%
Turbo-jets, turbo-propellers and other gas turbines 2.4%
Wine of fresh grapes, incl. fortified wines; grape must, partly fermented and of an actual alcoholic strength of > 0,5% vol or grape must with added alcohol of an actual alcoholic strength of > 0,5% vol 1.9%
Parts of aircraft and spacecraft of heading 8801 or 8802, n.e.s. 1.6%
Beauty or make-up preparations and preparations for the care of the skin, incl. sunscreen or sun tan preparations (excl. medicaments); manicure or pedicure preparations 1.5%
Electronic integrated circuits and microassemblies 1.5%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 1.4%
560.6 bn USD of products imported in 2016
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 5.7%
Parts of aircraft and spacecraft of heading 8801 or 8802, n.e.s. 3.9%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 3.2%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 2.7%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 2.7%
Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705, n.e.s. 2.4%
Powered aircraft e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes; spacecraft, incl. satellites, and suborbital and spacecraft launch vehicles 2.1%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 1.9%
Turbo-jets, turbo-propellers and other gas turbines 1.9%
Automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 1.8%

Source: Comtrade, 2017

 
 
 

Main Services

435.5 bn USD of services exported in 2013
Other business services
35.49%
Travel
27.03%
Transportation
23.37%
Royalties and license fees
5.51%
Insurance services
3.82%
Construction services
2.11%
Cultural and recreational services
2.01%
Government services
0.55%
Communications services
0.12%
404.8 bn USD of services imported in 2013
Other business services
37.39%
Transportation
26.34%
Travel
22.01%
Royalties and license fees
5.21%
Insurance services
4.06%
Cultural and recreational services
2.79%
Construction services
1.79%
Government services
0.31%
Communications services
0.11%

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

 

Exchange Rate System

Local Currency
Euro (EUR)
Exchange Rate Regime
Floating exchange regime.
Level of Currency Instability
Very limited exchange risk since the euro is a major currency.
 
 
Monetary Indicators 20112012201320142015
Euro (EUR) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 0.720.780.750.750.90

Source: The European Central Bank - Latest available data.

 
 

Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Member of OECD
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Party to the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls For Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies
Party of the International Coffee Agreement 2007
Main International Economic Cooperation
Member of the European Union
Member of the European Economic Area, which has guaranteed, since 1 January 1993, the free movement of most goods between European countries.
Multilateral agreements and bilateral agreements with many countries.
Party of the ATA Convention on Temporary Admissions and Use of the Carnets
Yes

As a Reminder, the ATA is a System Allowing the Free Movement of Goods Across Frontiers and Their Temporary Admission Into a Customs Territory With Relief From Duties and Taxes. The Goods Are Covered By a Single Document Known as the ATA Carnet That is Secured By an International Guarantee System.
Look Up the Other Member Countries And Read the Web Pages of the World Customs Organization Devoted to the ATA Carnet.
Party of the TIR Convention
Yes

As a Reminder, the TIR Convention and its Transit Regime Contribute to the Facilitation of International Transport, Especially International Road Transport, Not Only in Europe and the Middle East, But Also in Other Parts of the World, Such as Africa and Latin America.
The UNCTAD Website Allows You to Read the TIR Convention, See the List of Member Countries And to Find Further Information.
Accompanying Documents For Imports
Within the European Union, goods originating in the EU community can move freely and are exempt from customs formalities.

The documents which have to accompany the goods when they are delivered inside the EU community are the following:
-Bill of lading or airway bill
-Certificate of origin
- Commercial invoice
- Declaration of an antique

For a transaction outside the EU community, you have to add:
- Import licenses
- Certifications
- Single Administrative Document (SAD)
- Health certificate
Free Zones
Free zone of Verdon
Free zone of Guyana
For Further Information
French Customs website
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Ministry of the Economy, Industry and the Digital Sector
Non Tariff Barriers
At the European level, agricultural products are protected within the Common Agricultural Policy and textile products from China, Belarus, North Korea, Montenegro, Kosovo and Uzbekistan are subject to particular formalities and import licenses or control procedures (export document, monitoring document).
At the national level, trade in plants and seeds, aircraft and other goods has to be declared; they have to be certified respectively by the GNIS (the national interprofessional organization for seeds and plants), the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Agriculture. Among the non-tariff barriers are France's regulations and bureaucratic procedures, its complex safety standards and its testing and certification requirements.
Sectors or Products For Which Commercial Disagreements Have Been Registered With the WTO
Agricultural products: cereals, bananas, poultry, appellations of geographical origin, garlic, salmon, sardines, sugar, wine, corn, coffee, melted cheese, rice.
Computer material, films and television programs, merchant vessels, civil aircraft, steel and cotton.
Assessment of Commercial Policy
The WTO pages devoted to France
Barriers to exchanges, inventoried by the United States

Learn more about How to Export to France on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

 

Standards

National Standards Organisations
AFNOR, the French standardisation association
UTE, Electricity technical union
ETSI, European Telecommunications Standards Institute
Integration in the International Standards Network
At the European level:
- CEN, European Committee for Standardisation
- CENELEC, European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation

At the international level:
- International Standards Organisation (ISO)
- International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
Obligation to Use Standards
Products are subject to the European Union's legislation (General product safety Directive, technical legislation) as well as to the national French legislation.

Conformity to standards is compulsory for products such as machines, tools, electrical appliances, sports equipment, toys etc. This list continues to grow. Goods which have complex technology or are potentially dangerous must submit to rigorous testing and approval procedures before they can be marketed in France.

Classification of Standards
NF is the national certification mark.
CE is the European certification mark. It is compulsory for a country to be able to sell on the market.
Assessment of the System of Standardization
French people are receptive to standards being observed; the NF mark or the ISO 9000 certification are well known to consumers and firms and they are appreciated for their guarantee of the quality and safety of products and services.
Online Consultation of Standards
AFNOR
The on-line catalog of European standards
The ISO catalog
The most important standardisation programmes
Certification Organisations
See the list of independent organisations which issue the NF mark with AFNOR accreditation.
Associations of Standards Users
ACANOR, French association for the knowledge and application of standards

 

© Export Entreprises SA, All Rights Reserved.
Last Updates: August 2017