French imports totaled US$638 billion in 2019, up by 13.3% since 2015 but down by -3.4% from 2018 to 2019.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2019, the euro appreciated by 0.9% against the US dollar since 2015 but declined by -5.5% from 2018 to 2019. The weaker EU currency makes France’s imports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive since 2018 when converted starting from the US dollar.
French imports represent 3.2% of total global imports which totaled an estimated $19.665 trillion one year earlier during 2018 (as calculated on February 8, 2020).
From a continental perspective, almost two-thirds (62.6%) of France’s total imports by value in 2019 were purchased from fellow European countries. Asian trade partners supplied 21.7% of import purchases by France while 7.6% worth originated from North America. Smaller percentages came from Africa (4.6%), Latin America (1.2%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania (0.3%) led by Australia and New Zealand.
Given France’s population of 64.8 million people, its total $638 billion in 2019 imports translates to roughly $9,800 in yearly product demand from every person in the European Union nation.
France’s Top 10 Imports
The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in France’s import purchases during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into France.
- Machinery including computers: US$83.6 billion (13.1% of total imports)
- Vehicles: $73.3 billion (11.5%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $65.9 billion (10.3%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $56.6 billion (8.9%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $25.1 billion (3.9%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $24.2 billion (3.8%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $20.7 billion (3.2%)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: $20.6 billion (3.2%)
- Organic chemicals: $15.4 billion (2.4%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $12.3 billion (1.9%)
France’s top 10 imports accounted for nearly two-thirds (62.3%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.
Only one top product category declined in value, namely French imports of optical, technical and medical apparatus via its 5.5% incerase year over year.
Leading the declining categories were mineral fuels including oil (down -10.5%), plastics including items made from plastic (down -6.9%) then organic chemicals (down -5.6%).
At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level, France’s top imported goods are: cars (6% of France’s total imports), crude oil (3.8%), processed petroleum oils (3.7%), turbo-jets (also 2.7%), automobile parts or accessories (2.6%), medication mixes in dosage (2.5%), aircraft parts (2.4%), petroleum gases (2.1%), mobile phones (1.8%), computers (1.5%) then trucks (1.1%).
In 2019, French importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery-related products including computers.
- Turbo-jets: US$17.1 billion (up 12.1% from 2018)
- Computers, optical readers: $9.4 billion (down -2%)
- Taps, valves, similar appliances: $3.4 billion (up 2.2%)
- Printing machinery: $3.2 billion (up 0.2%)
- Machinery parts: $3.1 billion (down -5%)
- Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $2.7 billion (up 2.3%)
- Air or vacuum pumps: $2.5 billion (down -4.9%)
- Piston engine parts: $2.4 billion (down -18.3%)
- Refrigerators, freezers: $2.3 billion (up 1.8%)
- Liquid pumps and elevators: $2.3 billion (down -8%)
Among these import subcategories, French purchases of turbo-jets (up 12.1%), centrifuges, filters and purifiers (up 2.3%) then taps, valves and similar appliances (up 2.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentages within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported machinery among French businesses and consumers.
In 2019, French importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles.
- Cars: US$38.5 billion (up 0.4% from 2018)
- Automobile parts/accessories: $16.6 billion (down -5.7%)
- Trucks: $7.2 billion (down -5.2%)
- Tractors: $3.9 billion (up 6.9%)
- Motorcycles: $1.8 billion (up 5.3%)
- Trailers: $1.3 billion (down -6.9%)
- Public-transport vehicles: $1.3 billion (up 21.9%)
- Motorcycle parts/accessories: $894.5 million (up 7.2%)
- Special purpose vehicles: $573.8 million (up 6.7%)
- Automobile bodies: $463.2 million (up 5.6%)
Among these import subcategories, French purchases of public-transport vehicles (up 21.9%), motorcycle parts or accessories (up 7.2%) then tractors (up 6.9%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and percentages within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported vehicles among French businesses and consumers.
In 2019, French importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products.
- Crude oil: US$24.5 billion (down -13.9% from 2018)
- Processed petroleum oils: $23.9 billion (down -1.8%)
- Petroleum gases: $13.5 billion (down -17.1%)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $1.6 billion (down -19.9%)
- Petroleum oil residues: $839.2 million (up 4.8%)
- Electrical energy: $777.1 million (down -12.1%)
- Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $267.4 million (down -21.2%)
- Coke, semi-coke: $226.5 million (up 2.1%)
- Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $95.3 million (down -19.8%)
- Peat: $82 million (down -9.1%)
Among these import subcategories, French purchases of petroleum oil residues (up 4.8%) and coke or semi-coke (up 2.1%) expanded in value from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported fossil fuels-related products among French businesses and consumers.
In 2019, French importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electronics-related products.
- Phone system devices including smartphones: US$11.8 billion (down -7.9% from 2018)
- Insulated wire/cable: $4.9 billion (up 2.7%)
- Integrated circuits/microassemblies: $3.8 billion (down -8.2%)
- Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $3.2 billion (down -3.3%)
- TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $3 billion (down -3.9%)
- Electric water heaters, hair dryers: $2.9 billion (up 3.8%)
- Electric storage batteries: $2.5 billion (up 9.4%)
- Electrical converters/power units: $2.3 billion (down -7%)
- Electric motors, generators: $1.7 billion (up 6.4%)
- Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels: $1.7 billion (down -14.5%)
Among these import subcategories, French purchases of electric storage batteries (up 9.4%), electric motors or generators (up 6.4%) then electric water heaters and hair dryers (up 3.8%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentages within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported electronics among French businesses and consumers.
See also France’s Top 10 Major Export Companies, France’s Top Trading Partners and France’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on February 8, 2020
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on February 8, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on February 8, 2020
Richest Country Reports, Key Statistics Powering Global Wealth. Accessed on February 8, 2020