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Economic relations


The United States remains the leading destination for French foreign direct investment (€148 billion at the end of 2013). Over 3600 subsidiaries of French companies are established in the United States. They generate over 560,000 jobs there (INSEE figures) and their total revenue amounts to over seven times the sum of French exports to the United States.

French investment primarily centres on the manufacturing industry (43%), financial services (25%) and the information sector (12%). Notable successes include the position gained by VEOLIA, which has become the largest private multimodal transport operator and the leading water services provider for municipalities, local governments, federal authorities and manufacturers in North America. AREVA is the leader in its field in the USA, while SAFRAN ranks top in the security industries.
Meanwhile, the USA is the leading foreign direct investor in France, with a stock of €98 billion at the end of 2013, and the largest foreign employer. According to the Invest in France Agency, these investments represent around 450,000 jobs in France. American investments are mostly linked to the manufacturing industry (50%), financial services (26%) and the real estate sector (9%).

Bilateral trade

The USA is France’s sixth-largest customer and fifth-largest supplier (leading customer and second-largest supplier outside the European Union). In 2014, trade between France and the USA remained at €59 billion, after sustained growth in 2011 and 2012. In combination, the rise in our exports (+1.7% to €27.4 billion) and the drop in our imports (-3.5% to €31.5 billion) reduced our trade deficit with the USA for the second year in a row, to €4.1 billion, its lowest level since 2008. Petroleum products and hydrocarbons account for 90% of the bilateral trade deficit, despite a fall in our energy bill (5%).

As in previous years, in 2014 the majority of French exports to the USA consisted of transport equipment (28%), mechanical, electrical, electronic and computer equipment (19%), agrifood products (11%), chemical products (10%) and pharmaceuticals (7%). The rise in exports was particularly due to the resumption of chemical product exports, which made up for the slowing of transport equipment exports.

According to American statistics, in 2014 France continued to rank as the ninth-largest supplier to the USA, with a market share that is levelling off at 2%.
As regards French imports of American goods, three quarters of these consist of transport equipment (26%), mechanical, electrical, electronic and computer equipment (19%), energy (16%) and pharmaceuticals (13%). The drop in our imports in 2014 is mainly linked to the drop in our transport equipment purchases (-7.5%), especially in the aeronautics industry.



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