France’s Top Trading Partners

France's Top Trading Partners

by Flagpictures.org

Nicknamed “The Hexagon” (l’Hexagone en français) because of the country’s roughly six-sided shape, France is strategically located on the European continent. It borders Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland and Italy to the east, Andorra to the South and Spain to the west. England is almost due north across the English Channel from France.

France shipped US$522.8 billion worth of products around the globe in 2017. That figure represents roughly 3.3% of overall global exports estimated at $15.952 trillion one year earlier during 2016.

From a continental perspective, 64.4% of French exports by value are delivered to fellow European nations while 18.2% are sold to Asian importers. Meanwhile, North American importers purchased 8.8% worth of overall French shipments.

At 5.4%, an even smaller portion of French exports were bought by African importers.

France’s Top Trading Partners

Top 15

Below is a list showcasing 15 of France’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most French shipments by dollar value during 2017. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total French exports.

  1. Germany: US$77.4 billion (14.8% of total French exports)
  2. Spain: $40.2 billion (7.7%)
  3. Italy: $39.7 billion (7.6%)
  4. United States: $38.4 billion (7.3%)
  5. Belgium: $36.3 billion (6.9%)
  6. United Kingdom: $35.2 billion (6.7%)
  7. China: $21.4 billion (4.1%)
  8. Netherlands: $19.1 billion (3.7%)
  9. Switzerland: $17.7 billion (3.4%)
  10. Poland: $10.3 billion (2%)
  11. Singapore: $7.7 billion (1.5%)
  12. Turkey: $7.6 billion (1.4%)
  13. Japan: $7.2 billion (1.4%)
  14. Hong Kong: $7.1 billion (1.4%)
  15. Russia: $6.3 billion (1.2%)

Close to three-quarters (71%) of French exports in 2017 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.

Leading year-over-year gains in purchases of goods exported from France belong to China (up 20.7%), Hong Kong (up 18.4%), Russia (up 16.7%) and Poland (up 13.1%).

There were two decliners among the top importers from France: Turkey with its -2.2% drop and Germany via its smaller -1.8% cutback.

Deficits

France incurred an estimated trade deficit equal to -$88.8 billion during 2017, up 24% from its -$71.7 negative trade balance during 2016.

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, a given export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.

France incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries:

  1. China: US-$34.1 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2017)
  2. Germany: -$19.5 billion
  3. Netherlands: -$9.6 billion
  4. Italy: -$7.1 billion
  5. Belgium: -$4.9 billion
  6. Ireland: -$4.3 billion
  7. Vietnam: -$4 billion
  8. Japan: -$4 billion
  9. Kazakhstan: -$3.7 billion
  10. Austria: -$3 billion

Among French trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, France’s deficits with Austria (up 144.6%), Kazakhstan (up 62.7%) and Germany (up 24%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

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.

Surpluses

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 2017, France incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries:

  1. Hong Kong: US$6.3 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2017)
  2. Singapore: $5.2 billion
  3. United Kingdom: $4.8 billion
  4. United Arab Emirates: $2.6 billion
  5. South Korea: $1.8 billion
  6. Algeria: $1.8 billion
  7. Australia: $1.6 billion
  8. Qatar: $1.5 billion
  9. Greece: $1.4 billion
  10. Egypt: $1.4 billion

Among France’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, French surpluses with South Korea (up 165.1%), Hong Kong (up 24.4%) and Egypt (up 20.9%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

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.

Companies

French Companies Servicing Trading Partners

France placed 69 companies in the Forbes 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 France’s Top 10 Major Export Companies, France’s Top 10 Imports and Highest Value French Import Products

Research Sources:
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on February 12, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on February 12, 2018

Investopedia, Net Importer Definition. Accessed on February 12, 2018

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on February 12, 2018

Wikopedia, List of Companies of France. Accessed on February 12, 2018