France shipped US$605.9 billion worth of products around the globe in 2022. That dollar amount results from a 6.3% upturn from $569.8 billion in 2018.
Year over year, the overall value of goods exported from France expanded by 6.1% compared to $570.8 billion one year earlier during 2021.
The 5 biggest importers of products exported by France are Germany, Italy, United States of America, Belgium and Spain. Collectively, that quintet of major international customers paid for over half (52.9%) of France’s total export sales in 2022.
Applying a continental lens, 70.3% of products exported from France were bought by importers in: Germany (13.9% of France’s 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%).
France’s Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 25 of France’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most French shipments by dollar value during 2022. Also shown is each importing country’s percentage of total French exports.
- Germany: US$84.5 billion (13.9% of total French exports)
- Italy: $56.9 billion (9.4%)
- United States: $49.1 billion (8.1%)
- Belgium: $47.7 billion (7.9%)
- Spain: $46.6 billion (7.7%)
- United Kingdom: $35.6 billion (5.9%)
- Netherlands: $25.6 billion (4.2%)
- China: $24.9 billion (4.1%)
- Switzerland: $21.7 billion (3.6%)
- Poland: $14.4 billion (2.4%)
- Turkey: $9.7 billion (1.6%)
- Singapore: $9.3 billion (1.5%)
- Ireland: $6.88 billion (1.1%)
- Portugal: $6.85 billion (1.1%)
- Japan: $6.7 billion (1.1%)
- Morocco: $6.66 billion (1.1%)
- Sweden: $6.5 billion (1.1%)
- India: $6.21 billion (1%)
- Czech Republic: $6.17 billion (1%)
- South Korea: $6.17 billion (1%)
- Austria: $5.6 billion (0.9%)
- Hong Kong: $5.3 billion (0.9%)
- Romania: $5.1 billion (0.8%)
- Algeria: $4.69 billion (0.8%)
- United Arab Emirates: $4.68 billion (0.8%)
Over four-fifths (83.1%) of French exports in 2022 were delivered to the above 25 trade partners.
The greatest increases in importing France’s shipments from 2021 to 2022 belong to Ireland (up 28.9%), Morocco (up 24.1%), Italy (up 23%), United States of America (up 18.8%), Turkey (up 11.8%) and Singapore (up 10%).
Posting double-digit declines were customers in Japan (down -13% from 2021), mainland China (down -12.5%), Hong Kong (down -11.6%) and India (down -10.9%).
Countries Causing France’s Worst Trade Deficits
France recorded an overall -$204.1 billion trade deficit in 2022, expanding by 52.3% from -$134 billion in red ink one year earlier in 2021.
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$56.7 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2022)
- Belgium: -$24.5 billion
- United States of America: -$15.4 billion
- Russia: -$13.4 billion
- Germany: -$12.7 billion
- Spain: -$8.9 billion
- Netherlands: -$8.3 billion
- France: -$7.8 billion
- Vietnam: -$6 billion
- Bangladesh: -$4.6 billion
Among France’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, French deficits with Russia (up 206.3%), Belgium (up 147.9%) and Spain (up 45.5%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
In addition, France went from earning a billion-dollar surplus trading with the United States of America to posting the trade deficit listed above.
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.
Countries Generating France’s Best 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 2022, France incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries.
- Singapore: US$6.7 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2022)
- United Kingdom: $5.3 billion
- Hong Kong: $4.6 billion
- Switzerland: $2.7 billion
- Greece: $2.41 billion
- United Arab Emirates: $2.39 billion
- Italy: $1.5 billion
- Australia: $1.1 billion
- Luxembourg: $1 billion
- Senegal: $914.1 million
Among France’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, French surpluses with Greece (up 112.4%), Singapore (up 12.8%) and Switzerland (up 6.7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
France also went from enduring an -$8.4 billion deficit trading with Italy in 2021 to generating the trade surplus listed above.
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.
Examples of 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.
- 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)
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 April 4, 2023
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 4, 2023
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average)
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on April 4, 2023
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 4, 2023
Richest Country Reports, Key Statistics Powering Global Wealth. Accessed on April 4, 2023
Wikopedia, List of Companies of France. Accessed on April 4, 2023