Main Industry SectorsEconomic OverviewForeign Direct Investment [FDI]FDI Government MeasuresCountry Strong PointsCountry Weak PointsForeign Trade Overview
France is the biggest agricultural power in the European Union, accounting for a quarter ofits total agricultural production, and the second agricultural power in the world after the UnitedStates. The agricultural sector only represents a very small part of the countrys GDP. France receives significant subsidies, especially from the European Union. Wheat, corn, meatand wine are Frances main agricultural products. Frances manufacturing industry is varied, however, the country is in the middle ofundergoing a de-industrialization process which translates into numerous relocations. The key industrial sectors in France are telecommunications, electronics, cars, aerospace andweapons. The tertiary sector represents about three-fourths of the French GDP and employs almost75% of the active workforce. France is the leading-tourist destination in the world with more than 75 million foreigntourists every year.
The international financial crisis of 2009 led France into a recession, the Frencheconomy shrinking by 2.5%.France has nonetheless resisted this development better than the eurozoneaverage, thanks to a more diversified economy a more solid banking system, as well as amassive stimulus plan.The GDP improved in 2010, with a growth estimated at 1.6% which should remain onthis low level throughout 2011.The recovery was essentially driven by the resumption of international trade.In the perspective of the next years presidential election, the economic policy pursuedby the Sarkozy administration is focused on reclaiming the disgruntled electorate.The governments priority is the restoration of public finances through a policy ofbudgetary restraint.France measures to promote return to work, investment and exports will also continueto be pursued.Due to the crisis, the unemployment rate, which is estimated at 10% in 2010, hasreached its highest level in 10 years.
France ranks third in the world in attracting Foreign Direct Investments. Paris is the second city in the world, after Tokyo, in terms of establishment of multinationalheadquarters. France has about 500. Nevertheless, the country showed a decline in foreign investment due to thedeterioration of the international economic situation; this should however improve with the economicrecovery. Frances strengths include: its position as a fifth worlds largest power, its highly skilledworkforce, industrial base and agricultural resources and its geographic location in the center of Europe.
Foreign companies enjoy the same government aid as French companies (aidfor productive investment, R&D, professional training, job creation, etc.). The number of administrative formalities for foreign companies to settle inFrance has been reduced. To fight against the financial crisis, the French government has implementeddifferent measures: the economic prelaunch plan has committed the financing of1,000 projects. These investments bear on transport infrastructures, higher education andresearch, State real estate property, housing and urban redevelopment and alsohealth. Sarkozys government has abolished the professional tax in order topermanently stimulate investment. France government established a strategic investment fund of EUR 20billion, in Autumn 2008. France aim: to buy stakes in industrial companies whose development isessential to the French economy.
France is one of the worlds ten economic powers. France has quality infrastructures. The work force is qualified and productive (second in Europe in terms of hourlyproductivity). France is an innovative country with an highly developed tertiary fabric.
The drawbacks of the French market are: one of the highest taxation ratesin the world, significant manpower costs, low competitiveness in somesectors which can hinder the economies of scale. Research suffers frominsufficient collaboration between the public and private sectors.
France is one of the 10 leading exporters in the world, exports accounting for more than 50% of thecountrys GDP. France registers a strong trade deficit. Imports are developing quickly, as the French population buys a lot of imported goods which aresold relatively cheaply on the local market in comparison to products "Made in France". Frances efforts to favor innovation, French exports have relatively low added value. In 2009, under the effects of the economic recession, both exports and imports devreased.Exports, however, rebounded in 2010 with the resumption of Asian trade, and imports have risendramatically in response to the upturn in activity. Frances main trade partners are the European Union, the United States and China.
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