Conducting Business or Investing in France
I. Cross Direct Investments (FDI)
In 2010, the United States was the leading destination for French investments abroad. France is the 7th leading foreign investor in terms of totals in the United States (after the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, the Netherlands and Germany): France’s share amounts to $163 billion or 7.2% of foreign direct investments (FDI). More than 2,800 French companies are established in the United States: there, they generate more than 550,000 jobs and their combined turnover exceeds $170 billion.
French investments are made primarily in industry (46%), the financial services sector (17%) and the information sector (9.8%). Among the major success stories, we should highlight the importance of Veolia which has become the leading private operator of urban public transportation in the United States. Areva is the leader in its field in the United States. In the opposite direction, the United States is the leading foreign direct investor in France at a level of $75 billion: according to the Department of State, American companies employ more than 650,000 people in France, divided among 4,200 sites in France.
II. Bilateral trade
In terms of trade, the United States is France’s biggest customer outside of the European Union and its 6th most important customer worldwide. France is the 11th most important customer of the United States and its 10th leading supplier. For all of 2009, French exports fell by 18% compared with 2008, while imports dropped by 5%.
In 2009, our trade deficit with the United States reached €5.3 billion. The American market remains a reference market: 24,000 French companies (of which almost 80% are SMEs) export to the United States, i.e. 5,000 more than to Germany. The American and French economies enjoy a high level of integration: the total volume of trade between the two countries is around €140 million per day.
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French Companies in the United States
The many French-American Chambers of Commerce (FACC) or the European American Chamber of Commerce in France may help you in your research. These institutions may be able to furnish a list, for a fee, of French companies operating or with a presence in the United States (or vice versa).