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Foreign trade

Published on February 10, 2015
Statement by M. Matthias Fekl, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad

Paris, February 6, 2015

Foreign trade results in 2014: a new deficit reduction of more than 10%

Matthias Fekl, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad, this morning presented France’s foreign trade results for 2014.

The trade deficit fell for the third consecutive year, by €7 billion – i.e. a reduction of more than 10% – to €53.8 billion. Since 2011, it has gone down by nearly 30%. This improvement in the balance results from the reduction in energy imports, itself linked to the fall in oil prices and a reduction in the quantity imported in the course of the year. In total, the energy bill fell by nearly 20%.

The non-energy deficit widened, to €16.7 billion as compared to €12.4 billion in 2013. Results in the agrifood and pharmaceutical sectors in particular declined from 2013, even though they are still sources of surplus for France. Conversely, French exports were supported by aerospace – which achieved a new record surplus (+€23.6 billion) –, chemicals, perfumes and cosmetics, in which the surplus rose by more than 15% to €10.8 billion.

According to the IMF, France’s market share of global trade confirms its stabilization at 3.1% of global trade, after a virtually uninterrupted decline for more than a decade since the beginning of the 2000s.

At 121,000, the number of exporting companies increased slightly (+0.2%). It has now returned to its pre-crisis level.

In geographical terms, France improved its position in relation to most of the European Union’s largest economies. Despite a slowdown in our exports to some major emerging countries (India, Turkey, Brazil and Russia), sales to the main foreign markets outside the EU increased, particularly to China and South Korea.

Although the international context in 2014 was not promising, particularly among our European partners, trade also rose in volume. The prospects for 2015 should be supported by the recent decline in the euro and oil prices.

For Matthias Fekl, “these results demonstrate French exports’ ability to hold their own in what is still a difficult international context. I am particularly pleased with the renewed growth in our exports to the EU, but also with the dynamism of our exports to the major Asian markets. This means our businesses are not neglecting our main market, the EU, which accounts for nearly 60% of our trade, but are also conscious of the need to develop and to find new outlets in the most dynamic markets, which today are situated on the Asian continent.

“Together with the government, I’m continuing the effort to adapt the French export support mechanism to changes in the global economy, with particular focus on SMEs in order to support their international development./.

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