In the first half of 2010, French foreign trade contributed to the recovery initiated at the end of 2009 by building on the revival in world trade and strong demand from the emerging countries.
French exports were up 10% (compared with the first half of 2009) and 6% compared with the second half of 2009. The aerospace and pharmaceutical sectors continue to grow strongly (10% and 6%, respectively) and have already surpassed their pre-crisis levels. In geographical terms, exports to virtually all our trade partners are rising, and particularly robustly to China (+36%) and Brazil (+ 51%)
Due to higher oil prices and the weakening euro, the trade balance has worsened, falling to €24.5 billion. This is explained by the immediate effect of the lower euro on the price of energy imports paid for in dollars.
Anne-Marie Idrac stated: “These results reflect the ability of French exports to pick up as the recovery gets under way. Our exports are rising at the same pace as world trade and those of our main European partners. I particularly welcome the very strong increase in trade with the emerging countries. This validates the strategy I put in place two years ago with a special effort to support companies exporting to countries with a strong growth potential.
“So I am continuing, with Christine Lagarde, to tailor the French export support system to the major changes in the global economy. At my request, this year 60% of the efforts of Ubifrance, the French agency for international business development, are helping French business with countries outside the European Union. The same rationale underlies the recent decision to extend Ubifrance’s presence in 17 countries with a high growth potential and to strengthen its resources.
“We have to go on increasing and capitalizing on our know-how in areas in which we specialize, where there is a high global demand, particularly in the major emerging countries: aerospace, transport infrastructure, energy, urban equipment (management of water, waste and air quality) and health. The reforms such as those of the research tax credit and taxe professionnelle [local business tax] are helping to give exporters the resources to invest more in research and innovation, key to success on the international stage. My efforts to encourage the internationalization of the competitiveness clusters and structuring of the export sectors is also designed to make full use of what French industry, from the big companies to SMEs, has to offer. Finally, this autumn we are going to improve our arrangements for supporting major contracts, working with the relevant companies”./.