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Foreign trade

Published on August 8, 2013
Communiqué issued by the Ministry of Foreign Trade

Paris, August 7, 2013

In the first half of 2013, the trade deficit was markedly lower than in the first half of 2012.

France’s trade deficit has gone back under €30 billion (€29.96 billion) – for the first time since 2010 –, compared to €35.8 billion for the same period in 2012. The economic situation of our European partners, which has deteriorated, continues to influence our exports, which shrank by 1.2% in one year. Our imports, for their part, shrank by 3.1%.

As for the non-energy trade deficit, it went down 40% compared to the same period of 2012, reaching €5.6 billion. In certain months, its position is now close to equilibrium.

France’s trade balance improved compared to nearly all geographical areas, with the exception of the non-EU European countries and Africa. It improved by €1 billion compared to the United Kingdom. It doubled with the Middle East region, reaching €2.2 billion over six months. Our exports to Latin America also registered an increase of nearly 14%.

The aerospace industry: first trade surplus

The food industry, the aerospace industry and pharmaceuticals are contributing to the growth in exports and the improvement in the trade balance. By contrast, the deficit is increasing in the automotive industry and in capital goods.

Food exports increased by 6.4%, consolidating their surplus to €6.2 billion. With a surplus of €11.3 billion over six months, the aerospace industry registered a strong rise in exports as compared to the first half of 2012. It represents the main sectorial trade surplus, exceeding by 20% that registered at the same time last year. Pharmaceuticals confirmed their driving role, increasing their surplus to €2.3 billion.

In the other sectors, deficits fell slightly, except in the automotive and metallurgical industries and capital goods.

For Nicole Bricq, Minister of Foreign Trade, “foreign trade will be an essential driver of growth in 2014. The Euro Area is emerging from recession; our competitiveness reforms are bearing fruit and will continue further… I am convinced we’ll manage to achieve equilibrium in the non-energy trade balance in 2017, the target the Prime Minister set for me”./.

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