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Main opportunities for UK exporters in France

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Main opportunities for UK exporters in France

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France and the UK are major economic and trade partners. In 2013, the UK was France’s fourth largest export market (7% of all French exports) behind Germany, Belgium and Italy, and France’s eights largest supplier (4%). The trade balance is in France’s favour but the UK has substantial surpluses in the machinery, pharmaceutical and energy sectors.

The UK is the first destination in Europe for French Investments, increasing by 18% between 2013 and 2014. Over 1700 French firms, subsidiaries and branches are established in the UK employing approximately 330,000 people. On the other hand, nearly 2000 UK firms are present in France. They are particularly active in financial and insurance services, retail distribution, biotechnology, healthcare, chemicals, transport and agri-food industries.

UK exports to France in 2013

  • 38%: other industrial products (chemical, fragrances, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, textile, leather, mettalurgy)
  • 18%: transport equipment (automotive, aeronautics)
  • 17%: Mechanical equipment, electrical products (IT, electronic equipment, hardware)
  • 15%: energy related products
  • 11%: agricultural products and food & drinks
  • 1%: other.

What are the opportunities?

A great transport infrastructure, Paris and London only 2,5 hours away thanks to the Eurostar, a highly productive workforce, numerous «pôles d’excellence» (industrial clusters) attracting foreign investments, Europe’s second largest consumer market (with 65 million inhabitants)... These are just a few of the main characteristics that should convince you to consider exporting to France.

And to help you, the UKTI team in France has identified key sectors where there are opportunities for both UK exports and investments: Biotechnology, Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare, Software and ICT, Creative/Media/Design, Environment, Aerospace, Automotive industry, Railways, Chemicals, Food and drink, and Distance selling. There are also niche markets in all other sectors, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. Almost anything that sells well in the UK can be sold in France, provided that the quality and price are right.

If you believe your business can aim for France as a potential market, start looking into your specific market figures and get info. UKTI ( or Business France ( are 2 official services that can help you “do your homework” on these questions. And after this strategic phase is completed and you know France is on your agenda, you will undoubtedly need help from a local expert to define and implement your communication and product launch strategy. My French Communication Agency, based in France, can help you along the way: translation, events, online presence, cross-cultural communication… Contact us for any questions.

Article supplied by My French Communication Agency

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