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Foreign trade in figures

France is a major actor in global trade. It is the world's ninth exporter and seventh importer of merchandise (WTO, 2020), and trade represents 58% of the country's GDP (World Bank, 2020). France exports essentially aircrafts, vehicles, pharmaceutical products, food products (wine), hydrocarbons and electronic components. The country imports many consumer goods, vehicles, hydrocarbons and pharmaceutical products. After collapsing in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, trade volumes rebounded in 2021. According to IMF data, the volume of exports of goods and services increased by 7.5% compared to 2020, and the volume of imports increased by 8%. The IMF expects the volume of exports to continue increasing in 2022 (+7%) and 2023 (+4.5%), at a slightly faster pace than imports, which are forecast to increase by 6% in 2022 and 3.5% in 2023.

France's main trade partners are the European Union (Germany being the 1st customer and supplier), the United States and China. The departure of the UK from the EU (Brexit) raises many questions and may lead to a reorganisation of trade relations. The UK is currently France’s 6th customer and 8th supplier.

France registers a strong structural trade deficit. While the goods balance is structurally in deficit as the country is a net energy importer, the services balance is in surplus thanks to tourism revenues. According to WTO data, in 2020, France exported goods with a total value of USD 488.4 billion, while it imported them for a total value of USD 582.6 billion. As for the services, France exported around USD 245 billion worth services in 2020, while it imported services for the total value of USD 231.6 billion. Since 2015, the balance of goods and services excluding energy has become negative, as the deficit in manufactured goods continues to widen, mainly due to the relocation of automobile production and investment in imported machinery. 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'. Despite the government's efforts to favour innovation, French exports have a relatively low added value. In 2020, the trade deficit excluding services reached USD 71.3 billion  (World Bank, 2020). According to the latest data published by INSEE (Points de Conjoncture, December 2021), in 2021 exports of goods and services increased by 8.4% compared to 2020, while imports increased by 6.5%. If the aeronautics sector remained affected by the air transport crisis, cosmetics, leather goods and wines and spirits experienced a solid recovery in the first half of 2021, driven by the Chinese and American demand (Coface).

 
Foreign Trade Values 20162017201820192020
Imports of goods (milions USD) 573,022618,649676,441654,658582,564
Exports of goods (milions USD) 501,263535,189582,222570,951488,372
Imports of services (milions USD) 235,679245,329273,593269,940231,587
Exports of services (milions USD) 236,760273,953302,272293,569244,998

Font: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign trade indicators 20162017201820192020
Foreign trade (in % of GDP) 61.163.064.464.157.8
Trade balance (milions USD) -35,747-51,541-57,411-52,568-71,279
Trade Balance including service (milions USD) -13,239-23,499-28,339-28,451-56,749
Imports of goods and services (annual % change) 2.94.53.12.3-11.9
Exports of goods and services (annual % change) 1.84.44.51.6-15.8
Imports of goods and services (in % of GDP) 30.932.032.732.529.9
Exports of goods and services (in % of GDP) 30.230.931.731.627.9

Font: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20212022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 7.57.04.53.83.7
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 8.06.03.53.32.9

Font: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated data

 
International economic cooperation
France is a member of the following international economic organisations: ICC, European Union, WTO, European Economic Area, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, G-20, IMF, OECD, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates France click here. International organisation membership of France is also outlined here.
Free Trade Agreements
The complete and up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by France can be consulted here.
 

Main country partners

Main customers
(% of exports)
2020
Alemanya 14.3%
Itàlia 7.6%
Estats Units 7.6%
Bèlgica 7.4%
Espanya 7.3%
Mostrar més països 55.8%
Main suppliers
(% of imports)
2020
Alemanya 17.3%
Bèlgica 9.6%
Països Baixos 8.6%
Itàlia 8.3%
Espanya 7.9%
Mostrar més països 48.2%

Font: Comtrade, 2022. tableau-comtrade-note-arrondi.

 
 

Main products

488.6 milliards USD Main exports
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...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) 5.7%
Powered aircraft e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes;...Powered aircraft e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes; spacecraft, incl. satellites, and suborbital and spacecraft launch vehicles 4.7%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...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...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. 2.6%
Turbo-jets, turbo-propellers and other gas...Turbo-jets, turbo-propellers and other gas turbines 2.4%
Other products 80.8%
582.8 milliards USD Main imports
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...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) 6.3%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...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) 3.1%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...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 2.8%
Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles...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. 2.2%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 2.1%
Other products 83.5%

Font: Comtrade, 2022. tableau-comtrade-note-arrondi.

 
 

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Main services

232.1 milliards USD Main services exported in 2018
+
36.39%
26.65%
+
18.32%
7.00%
3.69%
3.26%
1.94%
0.96%
0.92%
0.85%
0.02%
207.9 milliards USD Main services imported in 2018
+
38.24%
+
23.44%
19.23%
7.60%
4.51%
2.79%
1.64%
1.13%
1.04%
0.38%
n/a%

Font: source-tableau-top-services, 2021. tableau-comtrade-note-arrondi.

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