Foreign trade performance in the first half of 2017 - Statement of Jean-Yves Le Drian (8 August 2017)

Foreign trade performance in the first half of 2017 reflects an acceleration in trade and a deficit in goods and services amounting to €22.7 billion.

This can be explained by an increase in imports linked to the upturn in economic activity, a smaller increase in exports and the rebound in oil prices. The services balance returned to a surplus.

While France’s market shares have stabilized since 2012 and the competitiveness of the French economy is continuing to improve, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs is committed to taking advantage of the forecasted recovery in world trade and to implementing a genuine export culture. This must be complemented by a simplification of the support mechanisms for export firms which I will launch, together with Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, in the next few weeks, in coordination with all stakeholders.

Improving France’s trade balance will first involve implementing, over the next few years, the reform program decided upon by President Macron and launched by the government. Restoring the competitiveness of French firms will help them to expand their export market share.

Our diplomatic tools are fully mobilized to support our economic and trade interests in order to:

  • promote fair international trade, making it possible to protect our firms against unfair trade practices. This is why we support - at the EU level - the development of tools and policies to address this;
  • to develop our policy to promote France’s attractiveness in order to increase productive foreign investment in France with the aim of strengthening our production of goods and services;
  • to support our firms already involved in export activity or those looking move into export markets. Efforts to streamline the existing mechanisms will be launched in the next few months to help increase the number of export firms.

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