The recent election of Emmanuel Macron as France’s new president is widely viewed as good news, both for the European Union (EU), which Macron supports, and for the future of international trade between France and countries around the globe, including the United States. As our country’s eighth largest trading partner, France is key to the global trade prospects of thousands of U.S. companies – including many in the aerospace and technology sectors – and its continued ties to the EU could prove essential for future planning and success.
During his campaign for president, Macron was generally regarded as a free trader, and was the only candidate who supported CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada. He also voiced support for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and has expressed an overriding belief of the value of free trade agreements. In the current political environment across the EU, however, the new French government may also pursue some policies that aim to protect European economic interests; Macron, for instance, has stated his support for a Buy European Act.
While France’s trade policies will likely evolve in the coming months, the new government’s commitment to the EU as an engine of economic growth is generally a positive sign for the global movement of goods and services – and for U.S. companies that benefit from global trade. Consider the fact that EU countries together rank second as an export market for U.S. companies, and that our total trade with the EU amounted to an estimated $1.06 trillion in 2013, according the Office of the United States Trade Representative. A stronger EU promises greater stability for world markets.
Today, France ranks as our country’s third largest EU trading partner and the third largest economy in the EU, after Germany and the United Kingdom. With a GDP of approximately $2.8 trillion in 2015, France is also the world’s sixth largest economy. According to the U.S. International Trade Administration’s export.gov, U.S. exports to France totaled approximately $49 billion in 2015. Overall, more than $1 billion in commercial transactions, including sales of U.S. and French foreign affiliates, take place every day. The United States is the top destination for French investment and the United States is the largest foreign investor in France.
The International Trade Administration notes that 25 percent of the bilateral trade between the U.S. and France is related to the aerospace industry. Key U.S. exports to France include industrial chemicals, aircraft and engines, electronic components, telecommunications, computer software, computers and peripherals, analytical and scientific instrumentation, medical instruments and supplies, and broadcasting equipment. Here is a full list of what France imports from countries around the globe.
Ecommerce is also important in France, where consumers spent approximately 72 billion euros online in 2016 – an increase of nearly 15 percent over 2015. Overall, the ecommerce market in France ranks sixth globally. U.S. companies looking to expand online sales will find a robust market in France and across the EU.
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