France shipped US$505.8 billion worth of products around the globe in 2015. That figure represents roughly 2.7% of overall global exports estimated at $18.686 trillion.
From a continental perspective, 63.2% of France’s total exports by value in 2015 were delivered to other European trade partners.
Asian importers purchased 17% of French shipments while 8.6% worth arrived in North America countries.
At 6.3%, an even smaller portion of French exports were bought by African importers.
France’s Top Import Partners
Below is a list showcasing 15 of France’s top import partners, countries that imported the most French shipments by dollar value during 2015. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total French exports.
- Germany: US$80 billion (15.8% of total France exports)
- Spain: $36.4 billion (7.2%)
- United States: $36.2 billion (7.2%)
- Italy: $35.6 billion (7%)
- United Kingdom: $35.2 billion (7%)
- Belgium: $34.4 billion (6.8%)
- China: $19.8 billion (3.9%)
- Netherlands: $19.4 billion (3.8%)
- Switzerland: $15.4 billion (3%)
- Poland: $8.7 billion (1.7%)
- Turkey: $7.9 billion (1.6%)
- Algeria: $7 billion (1.4%)
- Japan: $7 billion (1.4%)
- Singapore: $5.9 billion (1.2%)
- Sweden: $5.8 billion (1.1%)
Over two-thirds (70.2%) of French exports in 2015 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
From the list of top importers, only two countries increased their import purchases from France from 2011 to 2015: United States with its 11.5% gain and China with its 5.9% increase.
Declines ranged from a -25.5% slowdown for Sweden to a -6.2% deceleration for Poland.
As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.
It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export countrydoesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.
In 2015, France incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries:
- Germany: -US$31.2 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2015)
- Belgium: -$27 billion
- Netherlands: -$23.5 billion
- China: -$10.9 billion
- Italy: -$8.2 billion
- Ireland: -$4 billion
- Czech Republic: -$3.7 billion
- Switzerland: -$3 billion
- Austria: -$2.7 billion
- Kazakhstan: -$2.5 billion
Among France’s import partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Francen deficits with Netherlands (up 349.5%), Italy (up 150.7%) and Austria (up 124.1%) grew at the fastest pace from 2011 to 2015.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate France’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for France to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.
In 2015, France incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries:
- United Kingdom: US$11.1 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2015)
- United States: $5 billion
- Hong Kong: $4.2 billion
- Singapore: $4 billion
- United Arab Emirates: $3.1 billion
- Qatar: $2.8 billion
- South Korea: $2.7 billion
- Algeria: $2.7 billion
- Brazil: $2.6 billion
- Japan: $2.1 billion
Among France’s import partners that cause the greatest positive trade balances, Francen surpluses with South Korea (up 200.9%), Singapore (up 117.5%) and Algeria (up 42.1%) grew at the fastest pace from 2011 to 2015.
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate France’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for France to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
French Companies Servicing Import Partners
France placed 69 companies in the Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings. Below is a sample of the major French companies that Forbes included:
- Total (oil, gas)
- Sanofi (pharmaceuticals)
- EADS (aerospace)
- Christian Dior (clothing, accessories)
- Schneider Electric (electrical equipment)
- Danone (food processing)
- Renault (cars, trucks)
- Saint-Gobain (construction materials)
- Air Liquide (specialized chemicals)
- Safran (aerospace)
- Michelin Group (automotive parts)
- Pernod Ricard (beverages)
See also Product Demand Opportunities for Exports to France, France’s Top 10 Imports and Highest Value French Import Products
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on February 25, 2016
Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on February 25, 2016
Investopedia, Net Importer Definition. Accessed on February 25, 2016
Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on February 25, 2016
Wikopedia, List of Companies of France. Accessed on November 5, 2015