Current business situation
France is a member of the European Union (EU) and is subject to EU trade regulatory requirements The French economy is expected to grow by under one per cent in 2014. Key economic challenges for France include the size of its budget deficit and high levels of public debt. (Source: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, France country brief, Nov 2014)
The most important characteristic of French business culture is the emphasis on courtesy and formality.
Titles (Dr, Prof. etc.) should be used both in correspondence and in face-to-face meetings – business contacts are not normally addressed on a first name basis. Style of dress is very important in the business world. For men, office and corporate wear is formal consisting of suit and tie and fashionable semi-conservative wear is considered appropriate for women.
French companies are interested in long-term partnerships and once established they need to be maintained with regular visits to France that will ensure continued collaboration.
Although many executives speak English it is courteous to check beforehand.
Do not schedule business meetings in August (summer vacation) or workdays adjacent to public holidays.
Setting up in France
Invest in France (IFA) has information for those considering setting up a business.
Banking and finance
Six main banking groups are managing over 80 per cent of the accounts throughout the country.
Useful websites and resources
Government, business and trade
Invest in France
European Union Customs
French Economy, Finance and Industry Ministry
French Foreign Trade Ministry
Information on French businesses – Verif
News and media
Please note: This list of websites and resources is not definitive. Inclusion in this list does not imply endorsement by Austrade. The information provided is a guide only. The content is for information and carries no warranty; as such, the addressee must exercise their own discretion in its use. Australia’s anti-bribery laws apply overseas and Austrade will not provide business related services to any party who breaches the law and will report credible evidence of any breach. For further information, please see foreign bribery information and awareness pack.