France is the world’s number four economic power in terms of GDP. The country’s assets are varied and include its transport and telecommunications sectors, agri-foodstuffs and pharmaceutical industries along with banking, insurance, tourism and the traditional luxury products (leather goods, ready-to-wear fashion, perfumes, fine wines and spirits, etc.).
Farmers/farm workers: 910,000
Utilized agricultural area: 30,139,000 hectares
Principal agricultural products in France:
- Sugar beet: 1st in the EU, 2nd in the world (29 million tonnes)
- Wine: 2nd in the world, 2nd in the EU (5.3 million tonnes)
Leading industrial sectors in France :
- Construction and civil engineering. Annual production : 797 billion francs ($159.4 billion). Four French groups (Bouygues, SGE, Eiffage and GTM-Entrepose) rank among the top ten in European construction, with an annual turnover of 158 billion francs ($31.6 billion).
National R & D expenditure amounts to 190 billion francs ($38 billion) i.e. 2.5% of GDP.
The public sector finances 51% of it and is responsible for operating (building maintenance, salaries, laboratory equipment) the major national research centres, which include the CNRS (all fields), INSERM (medicine), INRA (agronomy), etc..
Densest in the world, longest in the EU with a total of 964,356 km of local, secondary and main roads and motorways, including 7,396 km of motorways (second in Europe).
Rail network SNCF (National Railroad Company) was responsible for 31,940 km of track.
On 1 January 1996, the
Market capitalization of shares listed on the Paris stock exchange totals 2,400 billion francs ($480 billion), 31.5% of French GDP, ranking Paris fifth in the world.
Four French banks are among the world’s top 25: Crédit Agricole (8th), Compagnie Financière Paribas (20th), Groupe Caisses d’Epargne (21st) and Banque Nationale de Paris (22nd).
France is the world’s second largest exporter of services and farm products and fourth largest exporter of goods (principally durables); it had a trade surplus of 104.5 billion francs ($20.9 billion) in 1995. French exports stood at 1,427 billion francs ($285.4 billion) in 1995, 22% of GDP. Imports amounted to 1,322 billion francs ($264.4 billion).