Being the tenth largest economy in the world with a GDP of $2,699 trillion and a 1.1% GDP real growth (2016), France continually strives to maintain its place as one of the European leaders and to increase its influential role in global economy.
With a manufacturing industry representing almost 20% of its total GDP and an industrial production growth rate of 0.5%, France is the 4th largest industrial producer, only behind the USA, Japan, and Germany. This data accounts for the vital role of manufacturing in its economy, as it functions as the primary sources of exports income and one fundamental area to internationally strengthen its position.
Always considering diversification as a necessary factor within its industry, France has a large production of vehicles, metallurgical products, machinery, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, textiles, and food products. It also holds a reputation for diverse technological innovation and knowledge.
The European Union’s auto industry is the biggest source of employment to Europeans, hiring more than 300,000 employees. As an integral member of the EU, France contributes an average of 4 million vehicles per year, standing as the 5th largest producer in the EU. Being so, this strong production supports Europe’s innovation platform through the engagement of many highly qualified employees.
At the same time, the auto industry represents an important field for foreign investment and, therefore, to the French government, which has made a great emphasis on aiding its development by directing new policies to benefit car manufacturers and helping both local companies and foreign investors.
What’s more, this supports a superior development in other subsidiary industries, such as tire manufacturers like Michelin.
Gourmet Food and Wine Industry
The French gourmet food and wine industry is famous around the world for several of its national products: meats, bread, cheese and wine.
The food and wine industry benefits the national trade balance by placing itself as a major exporting sector. Beverage exports alone account for more than 11 billion euros (2015) in sales. It also plays an instrumental role by involving more than 11,000 companies, contributing to the employment of more than 500,000 employees, and generating greater added value to agricultural products essential to the French economy.
This industry also aids French economic alliances at an international level. Even though 70% of the products are exported to European countries (mainly Belgium, Italy and the UK), there is a substantial percentage exports send to Asia and America, especially the United States.
Chemicals & Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
Through the production of basic, specialty, and fine chemicals, the French have managed to acquire a strategic role in this global manufacturing sector. This industry is ranked as sixth in the world (behind China, the USA, Japan, Germany and South Korea), exporting mainly to the EU, but also to several Asian countries. With sales of $110 billion in 2014, it has positioned itself in the top five of leading industrial sectors, and as the second largest in Europe. Specifically, France is the world’s leading exporter in the perfumes and cosmetics industry. Other typical products include detergents and soaps.
Furthermore, chemical sales have made the French government recognize the sector as a key component of the economy. Composed of around 3,500 companies, this sector employs more than 156,000 people.
While France already holds a strong position in global manufacturing, according to Market Economics’ data, this year’s PMI indicates a continued rise in production volume, exports, and employment growth. Today, they are the world’s 4th largest manufacturing country. By this time next year, they may move higher up the ladder.
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