France shipped USS568.3 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2021. That dollar metric reflects a 19.4% increase from 2020 to 2021 compared to an 8.4% uptick in value since 2017.
France’s 2021 total export revenues represent roughly 3.2% of overall global exports estimated at $17.503 trillion one year earlier during 2020.
The 5 biggest importers of products exported by France are Germany, Italy, Belgium, Spain and the United States of America. Collectively, that quintet of major customers received 44.9% of France’s total exported goods during 2021.
Applying a continental lens, 66.8% of France’s exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 17% were sold to importers in Asia. France shipped another 8.7% worth of goods to North America.
Smaller percentages went to Africa (4.8%), Latin America (1.6%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and Oceania led by Australia (1%).
France’s Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 15 of France’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most French shipments by dollar value during 2021. Also shown is each importing country’s percentage of total French exports.
- Germany: US$80.8 billion (14.2% of total French exports)
- Italy: $46.1 billion (8.1%)
- Belgium: $43.7 billion (7.7%)
- Spain: $43 billion (7.6%)
- United States: $41.3 billion (7.3%)
- United Kingdom: $33.7 billion (5.9%)
- China: $28.4 billion (5%)
- Netherlands: $23.3 billion (4.1%)
- Switzerland: $20.1 billion (3.5%)
- Poland: $14 billion (2.5%)
- Turkey: $8.7 billion (1.5%)
- Singapore: $8.5 billion (1.5%)
- Japan: $7.7 billion (1.4%)
- Russia: $7.6 billion (1.3%)
- India: $6.9 billion (1.2%)
Approaching three-quarters (72.8%) of French exports in 2021 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
The greatest increases in importing France’s shipments from 2020 to 2021 belong to India (up 43.7%), mainland China (up 42.2%), Poland (up 32.6%), Russia (up 29.4%), Netherlands (up 27.9%) and Italy (up 25.2%).
France incurred an overall -$131.7 billion trade deficit in 2021 expanding by 41.3% from -$93.2 billion in red ink one year earlier in 2020.
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.
- China: -US$46.7 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2021)
- Germany: -$14.7 billion
- Netherlands: -$10.2 billion
- Belgium: -$9.7 billion
- Italy: -$8.3 billion
- Spain: -$6.6 billion
- France: -$6.1 billion
- Vietnam: -$5 billion
- Ireland: -$4.5 billion
- Russia: -$3.8 billion
Among France’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, French deficits with Russia (up 504.1%), Belgium (up 444.1%) and the Netherlands (up 32.9%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
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 2021, France incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries.
- United Kingdom: US$8.4 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2021)
- Singapore: $6 billion
- Hong Kong: $5.3 billion
- United Arab Emirates: $3.1 billion
- Switzerland: $2.6 billion
- Australia: $2.3 billion
- United States: $1.3 billion
- Egypt: $1.2 billion
- Greece: $1.1 billion
- Luxembourg: $1 billion
Among France’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, French surpluses with Luxembourg (up 123.4%), Switzerland (up 60.1%) and Greece (up 49.4%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
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 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 France’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on March 14, 2022
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 14, 2022
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on March 14, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 14, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 14, 2022
Richest Country Reports, Key Statistics Powering Global Wealth. Accessed on March 14, 2022
Wikopedia, List of Companies of France. Accessed on March 14, 2022