Year over year, the overall value of goods exported from France rose 6.1% compared to $570.8 billion one year earlier during 2021.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2022, France uses the euro which depreciated by -12.1% against the US dollar since 2018 and weakened by -12.3% from 2021 to 2022. The weaker European Union currency in 2022 made France’s exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers.
France’s 5 biggest export products by value in 2022 were aircraft including spacecraft, medication mixes in dosage, cars, turbojets, and automotive parts or accessories. In aggregate, those major exports account for 18.9% of overall exports sales from France. The commodities themselves suggest a relatively diversified range of exported goods.
France ranks number one for exporting wine, ranks among world-leading nations for aircraft parts and is a major competitor for medications and other pharmaceutical shipments.
France’s Best International Trade Customers
The latest available country-specific data shows that 70.3% of products exported from France were bought by importers in: Germany (13.9% of its global total), Italy (9.4%), United States of America (8.1%), Belgium (7.9%), Spain (7.7%), United Kingdom (5.9%), Netherlands (4.2%), mainland China (4.1%), Switzerland (3.6%), Poland (2.4%), Turkey (1.6%) and Singapore (1.5%).
From a continental perspective, 67.3% of France’s exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 15.9% was sold to Asian importers. France shipped another 9.5% worth of goods to North America.
Smaller percentages went to Africa (4.8%), Latin America (1.6%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean then Oceania (0.9%) led by Australia.
Given France’s population of 65.9 million people, its total $605.9 billion in 2022 exports translates to roughly $9,200 for every resident in the European Union member nation. That per-capita metric exceeds the average $8,700 one year earlier in 2021.
France’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in French global shipments during 2022. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from France.
- Machinery including computers: US$64.3 billion (10.6% of total exports)
- Vehicles: $49.8 billion (8.2%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $46.8 billion (7.7%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $37.6 billion (6.2%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $33.8 billion (5.6%)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: $32.7 billion (5.4%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $25.2 billion (4.2%)
- Perfumes, cosmetics: $22.9 billion (3.8%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $22 billion (3.6%)
- Iron, steel: $19.2 billion (3.2%)
Mineral fuels including oil was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 80.1% since 2021.
In second place for improving export sales was the aircraft and spacecraft product category which rose 5.9%.
France’s shipments of iron and steel posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 4% year over year.
The leading decliner among France’s top 10 export categories was pharmaceutical, experiencing a -3.8% drop.
Note that the results listed above are at the categorized two-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. For a more granular view of exported goods at the four-digit HTS code level, see the section Searchable List of France’s Most Valuable Export Products further down below.
France’s Major Food Exports
Calculated based on the overall $605.9 billion worth of products shipped from France in 2022, food exports amounted to a subtotal $58.8 billion or 9.7% of France’s exported goods. In comparison, Canada’s international food shipments represent 10.9% of total products exported in 2022 while the food exports percentage is 7.8% for overall exports from the United Kingdom.
The value of France’s international food shipments grew by 22% compared to 2018. From 2021 to 2022, French exporters posted a 10.1% uptick in food-related revenues.
At 20.1% of its overall exports, France’s most valuable exported product category encompasses unprocessed foods, specifically cereals. France’s leading product group was propelled by international sales of wheat, corn and barley.
The second most valuable food category for shippers in France was dairy, eggs and honey, representing 13.9% of French international food sales. The dairy, eggs and honey product category is heavily influenced by France’s shipments of cheese, milk and cream, and butter.
In third place were exports under the processed food category cereal or milk preparations equaling 9.9% of France’s food exports by value.
The other leading product categories are meat (7% of France’s total exports) led by beef and pork, then miscellaneous food preparations (6.1%), animal or vegetable fats and oils (5.3%) and vegetables (4.8%) led by potatoes.
Products Creating Trade Surpluses for France
The following types of French product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.
In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
- Aircraft, spacecraft: US$20 billion (Up by 2.6% since 2021)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $16.2 billion (Down by -5.2%)
- Perfumes, cosmetics: $15.9 billion (Up by 4.4%)
- Cereals: $10.6 billion (Up by 46.6%)
- Leather/animal gut articles: $7.3 billion (Up by 7.3%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $5.2 billion (Up by 2.4%)
- Ships, boats: $3.3 billion (Reversing a -$159.1 million deficit)
- Live animals: $2.1 billion (Up by 3.4%)
- Iron, steel: $2 billion (Down by -39.1%)
- Dairy, eggs, honey: $1.96 billion (Down by -35%)
France has highly positive net exports in the international trade of aerospace products. In turn, these cashflows indicate France’s strong competitive advantages under the aircraft and spacecraft product category.
Products Causing Trade Deficits for France
France incurred an overall -$204.1 billion trade deficit in 2022, expanding by 52.3% from -$134 billion in red ink one year earlier in 2021.
Below are exports from France that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country France’s goods trail French importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$122.6 billion (Up by 127.5% since 2021)
- Vehicles: -$23.4 billion (Down by -7.5%)
- Machinery including computers: -$20.4 billion (Down by -4.1%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$19.5 billion (Up by 0.4%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: -$9.6 billion (Down by -3.3%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$7.7 billion (Up by 14.1%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$6 billion (Down by -3.3%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$5.9 billion (Down by -0.6%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): -$5.2 billion (Up by 4.1%)
France has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for mineral fuels-related resources, particularly for crude and refined oils, petroleum gases and coal.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate France’s competitive disadvantages in the international fuel market, but also represent key opportunities for France to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations especially in alternative energy sources.
France’s Major Export Companies
France placed roughly 70 companies in the Forbes Global 2000 rankings. The following companies are examples of world-leading French companies.
- Air Liquide (specialized chemicals)
- Christian Dior (clothing, accessories)
- Danone (food processing)
- EADS (aerospace)
- Michelin Group (automotive parts)
- Pernod Ricard (beverages)
- Renault (cars, trucks)
- Safran (aerospace)
- Saint-Gobain (construction materials)
- Sanofi (pharmaceuticals)
- Schneider Electric (electrical equipment)
- Total (oil, gas)
Global trade intelligence firm Zepol lists the following smaller French exporters. Selected examples are shown below.
- Hesnault (wines, jams, cheese)
- Mane Fils (aromatic materials)
- Transityre France (latex, transmission belts, vehicle tires)
Searchable List of France’s Most Valuable Export Products
The following searchable table displays 100 of the most in-demand goods shipped from France during 2022. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2021.
|Rank||France's Export Product||Value (US$)||Change|
|2||Medication mixes in dosage:||$25,784,472,000||-4.9%|
|8||Cases, handbags, wallets:||$11,852,320,000||+12.4%|
|9||Processed petroleum oils:||$10,752,036,000||+48.7%|
|10||Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations:||$10,665,137,000||-1%|
|11||Blood fractions (including antisera):||$9,972,799,000||-0.9%|
|16||Perfumes, toilet waters:||$6,731,029,000||+15%|
|17||Aircraft or spacecraft parts:||$6,631,210,000||+0%|
|18||Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs):||$6,096,043,000||+0.2%|
|20||Lower-voltage switches, fuses:||$4,934,989,000||-1%|
|23||Heterocyclics, nucleic acids:||$3,772,052,000||+9.6%|
|25||Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays):||$3,658,673,000||-0.7%|
|26||Cruise/cargo ships, barges:||$3,614,275,000||+230%|
|27||Phone system devices:||$3,522,752,000||+1.2%|
|28||Miscellaneous plastic items:||$3,385,112,000||-1.4%|
|29||Miscellaneous animal feed preparations:||$3,374,031,000||-0.3%|
|30||Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products:||$3,270,798,000||+20.5%|
|31||Iron or steel scrap:||$3,112,224,000||-6.9%|
|32||Centrifuges, filters and purifiers:||$3,104,731,000||+1.1%|
|34||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries:||$2,921,868,000||+2.4%|
|35||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps:||$2,879,007,000||-3.2%|
|36||Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated):||$2,832,014,000||+9.4%|
|37||Scents used for beverage or industrial manufacturing:||$2,816,091,000||+1.2%|
|38||Rubber tires (new):||$2,638,877,000||-1%|
|39||Taps, valves, similar appliances:||$2,635,457,000||-4.6%|
|41||Flat-rolled other alloy steel products:||$2,515,064,000||+9.5%|
|43||Liquid pumps and elevators:||$2,445,487,000||-6.3%|
|46||Aluminum plates, sheets, strips:||$2,352,425,000||+19.7%|
|47||Computers, optical readers:||$2,310,953,000||-11.8%|
|48||Chemical industry products/residuals:||$2,268,641,000||-3.7%|
|49||Miscellaneous iron or steel items:||$2,245,637,000||+10.4%|
|50||Flour/meal/starch/malt extract food preparations:||$2,209,646,000||+9.6%|
|51||Women's clothing (not knit or crochet):||$2,190,465,000||+9.8%|
|54||Other organic cleaning preparations:||$2,112,182,000||+0.8%|
|55||Electric motors, generators:||$2,081,028,000||+18.6%|
|56||Vinyl chloride polymers:||$2,077,493,000||+7.4%|
|57||Air or vacuum pumps:||$2,058,273,000||-10.7%|
|58||Other food preparations:||$1,977,236,000||-4.8%|
|61||Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet):||$1,897,703,000||+19.8%|
|62||Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels:||$1,896,332,000||-2.4%|
|65||Electrical converters/power units:||$1,819,221,000||+11.6%|
|66||Other diagnostic/lab reagents:||$1,817,774,000||+7.6%|
|68||Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips:||$1,799,729,000||+8.2%|
|70||Transmission shafts, gears, clutches:||$1,754,928,000||-2.7%|
|71||Live bovine cattle:||$1,743,971,000||+3.6%|
|73||Ball, roller bearings:||$1,679,175,000||-6.1%|
|75||Electric water heaters, hair dryers:||$1,646,314,000||-4%|
|76||Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers):||$1,625,999,000||-13.9%|
|77||Radioactive chemical elements:||$1,596,885,000||+104.1%|
|79||Electric circuit parts, fuses, switches:||$1,573,691,000||+6.8%|
|80||Piston engine parts:||$1,570,326,000||-11.9%|
|81||Solar power diodes/semi-conductors:||$1,566,565,000||+4.5%|
|83||Copper waste, scrap:||$1,522,639,000||-8.7%|
|84||Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers:||$1,480,883,000||+3.2%|
|85||Chocolate, other cocoa preparations:||$1,444,076,000||-7.1%|
|86||Flat-rolled stainless steel items:||$1,428,652,000||+14.1%|
|88||Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation):||$1,408,670,000||+48.1%|
|90||Yachts, other pleasure/sports vessels:||$1,388,001,000||+3.1%|
|93||Physical/chemical analysis tools:||$1,374,966,000||-7%|
|94||Concentrated/sweetened milk, cream:||$1,353,577,000||+4.6%|
|95||T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet):||$1,319,692,000||+12.7%|
|96||Computer parts, accessories:||$1,312,615,000||+13.8%|
|98||Vulcanized rubber items:||$1,308,859,000||+2.7%|
|99||Electric storage batteries:||$1,286,874,000||-4.6%|
|100||Unrecorded sound media:||$1,266,027,000||-7.1%|
These 100 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$401.5 billion or almost two-thirds (66.3%) by value for all products exported from France during 2022.
In macroeconomic terms, France’s total exported goods represent 16.4% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2022 ($3.688 trillion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 16.4% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2022 compares to 17.1% for 2021. Those percentages suggest a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for France’s total economic performance, albeit that premise is based on a very short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. France’s unemployment rate averaged 7.454% for 2022, down from an average 7.867% one year earlier according to the International Monetary Fund.
France’s capital city is Paris.
See also France’s Top 10 Imports, France’s Top Trading Partners and France’s Top 10 Major Export Companies
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