France - Foreign trade

France Foreign Trade 1631
Photo by: Ljupco Smokovski

Leading French exports, by major categories, are capital goods (machinery, heavy electrical equipment, transport equipment, and aircraft), consumer goods (automobiles, textiles, and leather), and semi-finished products (mainly chemicals, iron, and steel). Major imports are fuels, machinery and equipment, chemicals and paper goods, and consumer goods.

The French trade balance was favorable in 1961 for the first time since 1927, but after 1961 imports rose at a higher rate than exports. Trade deficits generally increased until the 1990s. From 1977 to 1985, the trade deficit nearly tripled. Among factors held responsible were heavy domestic demand for consumer products not widely produced in France, narrowness of the range of major exports, and a concentration on markets not ripe for expansion of exports from France, notably the EU and OPEC countries. In the following years a growing change in the trade balance developed, and the deficit narrowed appreciably in 1992. By 1995, France had a trade surplus of $34 billion. In all, France is the world's fourth largest exporter of goods and the second largest provider of services and agriculture. France is the largest producer and exporter of farm products in Europe.

Garnering the highest revenues of export commodities from France are transport machinery, including automobiles, vehicle parts, and aircraft (12.5%). French wine, perfumes, and cosmetics represent about a quarter each of the world market in their respective categories. The top ten exports in 2000 were as follows:


Automobiles 6.4
Aircraft 5.5
Motor vehicle parts and accessories 4.1
Telecommunications equipment 3.9
Iron and steel 3.3
Medicinal and pharmaceutical products 3.4
Office machines, automatic data processing equipment 3.3
Alcoholic beverages 2.4
Textiles 2.3
Perfumery and cosmetics 1.9

In 2000 France's imports were distributed among the following categories:


Consumer goods 16.7%
Food 6.8%
Fuels 9.8%
Industrial supplies 27.1%
Machinery 23.9%
Transportation 15.6%
Other 0.1%

Principal trading partners in 2000 (in millions of US dollars) were as follows:


Germany 45,500 50,388 -4,888
United Kingdom 29,755 24,763 4,992
Spain 29,234 21,120 8,114
Italy 26,945 27,051 -106
United States 26,543 27,364 -821
Belgium 20,956 20,772 184
Netherlands 13,223 14,896 -1,673
Switzerland 10,075 7,019 3,056
China (inc. Hong Kong) 5,250 9,867 -4,617
Japan 5,099 11,751 -6,652

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Aug 6, 2015 @ 10:22 pm
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