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France - General Information

Area : 550 000 km²
Population : 62,9 millions inhabitants
Capital : Paris

Official language :
French
Official currency :  Euros €

Political system :
Republique
Parliament : 1) Assemblée nationale (National Assembly)
                        2) Sénat (Senate)

President :
Nicolas SARKOZY
Prime minister : François FILLON

Economic Data

Population

1990

2006

in thousands

56 709

61 044

Household consumption

2002

2005

in billions €

208,3

235,7

Workforce

1995

2005

in thousands

25 499

27 637

Unemployment rate

11,4

9,5 (2006)

Minimum wage/hour in €

5,64

8,03

Consumer price

1998

2006

index (1998=100)

100

114,16

Gross domestic product

1995

2005

in billions €

1181,8

1 690,4

Production

1995

2001

in billions €

2016,6

2612,0

index (1980=100)

136,0

165,3

Trade balance

2003

2006 (mars)

Imports CIF in billions €

314,8

33 823M

Imports index (1980=100)

318,8

31 866M

Exports FOB in billions €

4,0

- 1 957M

Total domestic debt

2002

2006

in billions € (public administrations)

895,2

1107,5

 

 

2005

Ratio public debt to GDP

58,6

66

Central Government

2002

2005

Income in billions €

227,5

249,1

Central Government expenditures billions €

277,5

288,4

Deficit (excluding IMF) as % GDP

-49

-43,5

Social security expenditures

2001

2004

in billions €

417,5

480

Social security expenditures as % GDP

28,5

29,1

Industry

Concerning industrial activity in the European economy, France is n°3 immediately behind Germany and the United Kingdom. Eastern Europe, Near East and Mideast and Africa represent about 80% of the industrial exchanges. Eight active sectors dominate the economy:

The automobile industry:
In 2004, French car makers produced worldwide 5,93 millions units and French sales represents 15% of world sales. The French car makers, which presence is very strong in Europe, plan to conquer emerging countries markets by setting up in Brasil or China.

Material processing:

Michelin is the world leader in tire production. Saint-Gobain holds the same position in the production of glass and is the second largest exporter. France is 4th in the world concerning the plastics industry, which count 4000 companies.

Construction and Public Works :

The construction sector turnover reached 137 billion Euros in 2004 thanks to the construction of new housing : 300 000 building sites opened, an 16% increase related to 2003. This sector employs about 294 000 companies and 1,3 millions workers.

Telecommunications industry:

France access to be the third european country with most high bandwidth internet access (6.1 billion internet access). In France, 48 millions people own a mobile phone for private use, it corresponds to 69% of the french population. Alcatel is the world leader in undersea cable networks. The new information and communication technologies sector represents a share of 11% in the turnover of the french industry.

Aerospace industry:
EADS european group (European Aeronautic, Defense and Space Company), as a result of the merger of French Aérospatial Matra, German DaimlerChrysler Aerospace and Spanish CASA, is ranked n°3 in the world. Arianespace, that belongs to EADS group, is the world leader of the space tranportation.

Agro business:
With a turnover of 124 billion Euros in 2004, this sector is the leading French industry. The 3 180 businesses in the sector employ 396 400 people (third French employer).

The Chimical Industry:
This sector employs 231 424 people with a turnover of 95,6 billion Euros. In 2004, this sector was the 1st exporter (except agro business and energy). France was the 2nd european productor and the 3rd world exporter of chemical and pharmaceuticals products.

Luxury goods and fashion:
This sector generates a turnover of 43.7 billion Euros. With the world leader, l'Oréal, and many other well known companies in the field, France is the first exporter in the world of fragrances and cosmetics, dominating 35% of the market.

Nowadays, The industrial structure is characterised by the predominance of SMIs (enterprises of 20 to 499 employees). In 2004, they constituted 96% of the companies and employed 40% of the industrial workforce. They represented 16% of the exports.

Agriculture and fisheries

French agricultural production, with a value of approximately 57,5 billion Euros in 2004, is the 1st productor in the European Union. France's share of the European production is nearly 23%, whereas the German and Italian shares are 15% of the European total.

France is the first European producer of cereals, sugar beet, cattle, poultry and wine. It is also the first exporter in the world of processed foods.

In 2003, 875 200 people declared being actively engaged in agriculture as part-time or full-time workers. The agro business sector, generally composed by SMEs is the 2nd employer of the country. In the world, France is the 2nd exporter behind the USA.
According to Ofimer (national interprofessional office of sea products and aquaculture), The turnover of maritime fisheries exceeded 1,7 billion Euros corresponding to a production of 854 600 tons of fish, crustaceans and other sea foods. France, like its European partners, suffers a structural commercial deficit as production does not meet national demand as a result of the reduction in the catch.
 

Services

Finance and Banking :
In 2000, the merger of the stock exchange markets of Amsterdam, Brusels and Paris (stocks and by-products) gave birth to Euronext, the 1st stock exchange market in Europe.


In 2002, the latter grew larger by merging with the Portuguese stock exchange market for stocks and by-products (Bolsa de Valores de Lisboa e Porto) and by purchasing LIFFE (the London by-products exchange market). Euronext was viewed as a solution to the globalisation of the markets, but also to offer more liquidities to investors and lower transactions costs.


In 2004, Euronext was the 1st European stock exchange concerning the volume of stocks exchanged (1 570 billion euros). This year Euronext announced his union with NYSE (the New York Stock Exchange) to create the larger stock exchange market in the world. This merger will be effective early 2007. The main banks are BNP-Parisbas, Société Générale, Crédit Agricole and Banque Populaire.

Insurance :
This sector is ranked 5th in the world with a turnover of 158 billion Euros in 2004. The sector counts about 600 companies and employs 200 000 workers. Axa, second European insurance company, CNP and AGF are the three leading French insurance companies.

Tourism :

It generates important income. France is the most visited country in the world with 75.1 millions tourists in 2004. The commercial surplus in this sector exceeds 34 billion Euros. Tourism represents 6,5% of the GDP.

Workforce and competitiveness

The quality of the workforce represents one of the most important factors in terms of competitiveness in a global economy. In France, this quality is largely due to the high level of qualification. To reach such a high level of competence, the educational expenditures reached 111.3 billion Euros or 7,1% of GDP in 2003, 18,9 billion euros were dedicated to the post graduate education. In 2004, there were 2 268 400 students, which means 59 400 more than the previous year.

The GDP per employee in French private business is 51 500 US$ ahead of the United Kingdom (50 900), Germany (42 700) and Spain (35 500) according to the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2002.

 

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Jean-Charles Faust - President
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