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.).
Key Figures 1995:
GDP: $1,520 billion
Trade surplus: $ 20.9 billion
In 1995 France had a trade surplus of 104.5 billion francs ($20.9 billion); it is the world’s fourth largest exporter of goods (mainly durables) and ranks second in services and agriculture (cereals and agri-foodstuffs in particular). It is the leading producer and exporter of farm products in Europe. France carries out 64% of its trade with its European Union partners.
France ranks third internationally for inward investment. Despite a high rate of unemployment (12% of the labour force) and large public deficits (which were nevertheless cut to 5% of GDP in 1995 and should be reduced to 4% by the end of 1996), foreign investors appreciate the skills of French workers, the advanced level of research, the mastery of high technology, the stable currency and control of production costs.