When you think about business in France, you may think about the long vacations or stellar benefits that are reported to be received by employees in France. But overall, how is business in France fairing and is it a good country to do business with?
Over the past 500 years, France has been a major power with strong cultural, economic, military and political influence in Europe and around the world. France is the wealthiest European nation, and the world’s 4th richest nation in aggregate household wealth, according to Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Report. The French are also among the least in debt populations in the developed world with personal debt accounting for “little more than 10% of household assets”. France enjoys a high standard of living as well as a high public education level, and has also one of the world’s highest life expectancies. France has been listed as the world’s “best overall health care” provider by the World Health Organization.
Key Information About France’s Economy
France has a mixed economy which combines extensive private enterprise with nearly 2.5 million companies registered, according to INSEE, with substantial state enterprise and government intervention. The government retains considerable influence over key segments of infrastructure sectors, with majority ownership of railway, electricity, aircraft, nuclear power and telecommunications.It has been gradually relaxing its control over these sectors since the early 1990s, according to the CIA World Factbook. According to the World Trade Organization, in 2009 France was the world’s sixth-largest exporter and the fourth-largest importer of manufactured goods. In 2008, France was the third-largest recipient of foreign direct investment among OECD countries at $117.9 billion, ranking behind Luxembourg (where foreign direct investment was essentially monetary transfers to banks located in that country) and the United States ($316.1 billion), but above the United Kingdom ($96.9 billion), Germany ($24.9 billion), or Japan ($24.4 billion), according to the World Investment Report published by the UN Conference on Trade and Development.
According to the IMF, in 2010, France had the world’s 18th highest GDP per capita with $40,591 per inhabitant. The aggregate nominal GDP of France was estimated at $2.808 trillion by the IMF in 2011, ranking France as the world’s fifth largest economy. In 2010, France was listed 14th on the UN Human Development Index with 0.872 (very high human development) and 25th on the Corruption Perceptions Index. France is the world’s second largest agricultural exporter, world’s sixth-largest agricultural producer and European Union’s leading agricultural power, accounting for about one-third of all agricultural land within the EU. Wheat, beef, pork, poultry, and dairy products are the principal exports. France is also the most visited country in the world, receiving 82 million foreign tourists annually, according to the UN World Tourism Organization. Paris, the capital city, is the most visited city in the world. France is also the second-largest trading nation in Europe after Germany, according to the WTO. Financial services, banking, and the insurance sector play an important role in facilitating French trade with the rest of the world and are also service sectors that are some of the biggest in the French economy…
Is It Worth Doing Business in France?
Overall, France is definitely one of the best markets to do business in. It is quite large with a population of 65,350,000 as estimated in 2011by the French government, in addition the population is quite wealthy. However, in terms of growth the French market is one of the slowest with a growth rate of 1.8% in 2011. In addition, the market is very competitive with strong domestic French competitors as well as strong foreign competitors operating in the market. However, that has not stopped businesses both large and small from investing in the market. The World Bank ranked France at 29th for Doing Business for 2012. In the same index, France was ranked at 24th for Trading Across Borders, 6th for Enforcing Contracts, and 79th for Protecting Investors. However, going into the future their may be additional problems with the French market, since France is nationally a part of the of the Eurozone and has been at the very center of the Eurozone crises. While the more imminent fears of the crises may have abated, their was a period of time when France looked like it may have gone the way of Italy. It remains to be seen whether France will continue to attract the level of businesses that it does at the moment.