France Trade Statistics 2020: Where Does Economic Growth Lie? We Investigate

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Economy of France – Overview

France is the 6th largest export economy in the world and it has the 2nd largest economy in the Eurozone after Germany.

It has a negative trade balance of $54.9 billion in net imports and this has steadily increased over a period of time, as it had a negative trade balance of $7.1 billion over 20 years ago.

OECD forecasts for the French economy suggest annual growth will be around 1.75% for the next few years. And a recovery in the country’s export performance since the global financial crisis in 2008 has mainly been driven by the transportation industry.

France’s Top 5 Commodity Exports

CommodityAmount (Annually)
Wheat$3.37 billion
Aluminium$1.51 billion
Refined Petroleum$6.68 billion
Corn$1.63 billion
Barley$1.07 billion

France’s Other Notable Exports

  1. Planes, Helicopters, and Spacecraft – $45 billion
  2. Cars – $18.4 billion
  3. Wine – $9.06 billion
  4. Perfumes – $4.9 billion
  5. Cheese – $3.28 billion

France’s export numbers have decreased at an annualized rate of 1.043% in the last five years, falling $574 billion to $485 billion in that period.

France’s Top 5 Commodity Imports

CommodityAmount (Annual)
Crude Petroleum
$17.9 billion
Coffee $2.3 billion
Chocolate$2.1 billion
Fruit Juice $1.18 billion
Tobacco $1.61 billion

France's Other Notable Imports

  1. Cars – $31.7 billion
  2. Gas Turbines – $10.2 billion
  3. Aircraft Parts – $15.4 billion
  4. Packaged Medicaments – $14.5 billion

More Information on France's Imports/Exports


The total annual value of the world wheat export market is $36.3 billion and France is the fifth-largest exporting country with a 9.3% market share.

The global value of wheat exports has fallen by 25.7% over the last five years and France is one of the countries that has posted declines in that period, with wheat export sales down 33.3%.


Germany is a major aluminum export market for France and accounts for 24% of their total exports, which is twice as much as any other country they export aluminum to.

France has a 4.2% share of the global aluminum export trade with China leading the way with 20% and Germany with 15%.

Refined Petroleum

Oil refinery capacity in France has fallen over the last five years and has declined from a peak of 1.6 million barrels per day to 1.2 million barrels.

The French government has recently announced plans that it intends to end oil and gas production by 2040, becoming the first country in the world to do so.


France is currently the fifth-largest exporter of corn in the world and has a 5.7% share of the global market.

The United States is the only country to post an increase in positive net exports for corn in recent figures and France has a surplus of $1.4 billion after deducting the value of its corn imports from the corn export figure, a fall of 36.5%.


The annual value of the global barley export market is $5.9 billion and France is the leading exporter with a 20.3% market share.

Australia and Russia are France’s main export rivals and between these three countries, they have a 49.6% share of the global market.

European countries control 62.9% of the barley export market.

France exports 23% of its barley to Belgium, followed by the Netherlands, China, Saudi Arabia and Morocco, who account for 44% of all France’s barley exports between them.

Did you know: The French love eating frogs legs but can’t produce enough to satisfy demand, which is why they import 4,000 tons of frogs legs from Indonesia.

A Few Interesting Facts

  • France is the most popular tourist destination according to the World Tourism Organization, who say that more than 83 million people visit every year.
  • France became the first country in the world to ban supermarkets from throwing away unsold or waste food. Since 2016, they have had to donate it to food banks or charities.
  • The law states that no less than 40% of music broadcast on private radio stations in the country must be of French origin.
  • France produces more than one billion tons of cheese each year across 1,000 different varieties.

All figures based on OEC/IMF 2016 projections unless otherwise stated.

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