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Economic strength a draw in France, reports Country Profile


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France flag

Flag Facts

The origin of the flag dates to 1790 and the French Revolution, when the “ancient French color” of white was combined with the blue and red colors of the Parisian militia.

Location: In western Europe, France is between Belgium and Spain and borders the Bay of Biscay, English Channel and Mediterranean Sea. It’s about four times the size of Georgia.

Language: French

Total Population: 67.4 million

Capital: Paris

Government: Semi-presidential republic

Religion: Christian (mostly Roman Catholic), Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish. France maintains a tradition of secularism and has not officially collected data on religious affiliation since the 1872 national census, which complicates assessments of its religious composition.

Economy: France’s real GDP grew by 1.9 percent in 2017 to $2.58 trillion, making it the world’s seventh-largest economy and the EU’s third largest after Germany and the U.K. The country’s service sector now accounts for an increasingly large share of economic activity and is responsible for most job creation in recent years, though it also maintains a strong manufacturing sector and agricultural resources. While its public debt ratio of 97 percent of GDP remains among the largest in the Eurozone, its budget deficit dropped to 2.7 percent of GDP and President Emmanuel Macron’s budget cuts are aimed at spurring private investment. The United States is the top foreign destination for French investment and the United States is the largest foreign investor in France.

News note: After months of what have been dubbed “yellow vest protests,” aimed at what critics say are President Macron’s economic polices that favor the wealthy and big businesses, French PM Edouard Philippe announced measures that would reduce unemployment benefits for high earners and offer incentives to those who work beyond retirement age. Lawmakers will also consider environmental and social justice polices.

GDP (official exchange rate): $2.58 trillion

Currency: Euro (conversion rate at press time: 1 EUR equals $1.13 USD).

Franchising in France: The country’s total franchising sales for 2016 (the most recent figure available) were estimated at $61 billion, and the French franchise sector ranks first in Europe in sales, which have doubled over the last 10 years. The market is competitive, with 1,900 franchisors and 71,518 franchisees, but opportunities are there for innovative U.S. franchises, particularly in gourmet fast food, personal services, home services, education and child or elder care. Over the past three decades, direct investment or area development expansion methods have proven more successful in France than the traditional master franchise model.

Ease of doing business rank by World Bank: 32.

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