France represents a market of over 63 million inhabitants with a high purchasing power and is at the heart of one of the largest economic market in the world, the European Union with over 500 million inhabitants. In terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), France is the second largest economy in Europe ($ 2,582 billions) and the fifth worldwide.
France is highly open to foreign talents: in 2008 it welcomed around 260 596 exchange students and 20 000 international researchers.
With a long tradition in industry, France counts 2.5 million companies and big French groups have successfully adapted themselves to the globalisation of the economy. In fact, 9 French groups are listed in the 100 top leaders worldwide: BNP Paribas (11th), Total (19th), GDF Suez (29th), Socité Générale (44th), Axa (48th), France Telecom (74th), Sanofi-Aventis (81st), Crédit Agricole (99th), EDG Group (100th).
Many French companies are global leaders in various industries:
- Car industry: Renault Nissan, PSA Peugeot Citroën.
- Energy industry: Total, Areva, EDF, Gaz de France.
- Food and Beverage industry: Danone, Pernod Ricard.
- Retail industry: Carrefour.
- Pharmaceutical industry: Sanofi-Aventis.
- Transport industry: Air France KLM, Alstom.
- Luxury industry: L’Oréal, LVMH.
- Banking and insurance industry: Axa, Crédit Agricole, BNP Paribas.
France holds its position as one of the global host country leaders for Foreign Direct Investments (FDI): $57.4 billion of inward FDI in 2010 ranking France 4th worldwide after the United States, China and Hong-Kong.
According to recent CNUCED forecasts for 2010, published in February 2010, flows of FDI in the world should reach $1,122 billion, up by 0.7% compared to last year.
FDI should go down by 6.9% in developed countries compared to 2009. However, international mergers and acquisitions in these countries have gone up by 23.9% in 2010.
CNUCED underlines that positive factors should trigger an increase of international FDI flows: industrial reorganisations, availability of significant financial resources form emerging countries and oil exporting countries, or the fast development of new activities, in the renewable energy sector for example.
More than 20 000 foreign companies employing more than 2 billion people are present in France.
According to recent INSEE forecasts, France 20 00 foreign subsidiaries all sectors included (INSEE, March 20080. Those subsidiaries employ over 2 million people, that is to say twice more than 10 years ago: 1out of 7 employees (equivalent to 14% of employees in a company) work in the subsidiary of a foreign company. It is a bigger ratio than in Germany, United Kingdom or United States.
According to figures provided by the OCDE for 2007, the weight of foreign subsidiaries in France’s economic activity is significant. Taking the whole economy they employ 14% of workers in France (against 16% in United Kingdom and 9% in Germany) that is to say 1 out of 7 French people. They represent 21% of the revenue of the whole French economy and 33% of total exports.
Ireland France Chamber of Commerce
44 Upper Mount Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
Tel: 00353 (0)1 644 9760
Fax: 00353 (0)1 644 9743