Doing business

Current business situation

France is a member of the European Union (EU) and is subject to EU trade regulatory requirements. France was Australia’s 17th largest merchandise trading partner overall in 2015-2016.

Business culture

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

Afnor
Axinnov
EU Taxation and Customs Union
French Customs
French Ministry for the Economy and Finance
The Internationalist
Invest in France

News and media

Le Figaro
Le Monde
Le Point
Les Echos

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.