OverviewFrance is a European country, neighboring Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, and Switzerland.
It has has a mountainous, varied climate, and a population of 68 million. France fought alongside Canada in both World Wars, and was one of the biggest powers in the world until it started decolonizing in the 50’s and 60’s. Decolonization was the result of many worldwide demonstrations that lead to violent conflicts in Vietnam, Cameroon, and Algeria. They have since been among the world leaders in economic and technological fields, and currently have a GDP of 3.17 trillion. Today, the French Government is made up of the Prime Minister, who is the chief of the government, alongside, Parliament, the ministerial council, and judicial branch.
The French president is Emmanuel Macron, a former Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs, and leader of La République En Marche!, a centrist and liberal political party. The party was founded in April of 2016, and won the 2017 presidential election by 66.1%. They have an absolute majority in the National Assembly, with 312 out of 577 seats. A recent news article describes how the government has created a situation for economic growth in 2018, as the economic growth estimate for 2017 was raised to 1.9%, and unemployment is expected to fall to around 9.4% in 2018.
International TradeFrench IndustriesThe French economy rivals that of the most powerful in the world, as it has the 7th highest GDP in the world in 2017. Since France has a very competent, educated workforce, they specialize in the manufacturing of high-tech goods. For example, airplanes and helicopters are France’s biggest export, accounting for 9.3% of all French exports. These are produced by companies such as Airbus, who employs 133,782 people worldwide. France is also the biggest exporter of wine in the world, and second biggest alcohol producer in the world, as the export value exceeds $14.5 billion. Due to the fact that France has a large population in a relatively small geographic area, a major product that they lack is petroleum; France produces 16,418 barrels of oil a day and consumes 1.
6 million barrels per day. France biggest import is manufactured goods, lots of which come from their most import trading partner, Germany, as they account for 16% of all of France’s exports and 17% of their imports. More than 50% of what they trade with each other is manufactured products such as cars, planes, circuit boards, machine parts, and packaged medicine. France exports around $78.9 billion worth of products to Germany annually, and Germany exports $94.5 billion. Both these countries are highly developed and educated, so it makes sense that they both sell each other high-tech goods.Relationship with CanadaCanada’s biggest import from France is Wine ($368 million), and France is the world’s biggest exporter of Wine, with 28% of the world’s market share.
Canada also imports several manufactured products, such as airplane parts and packaged medicaments. France’s biggest import from Canada is gas turbines ($478 million). Since France is much smaller than Canada geographically, they need to import Canada’s natural resources such as Iron Ore, refined petroleum, and rapeseed. Although the two countries have been historical trade partners, the total trade between each other has dropped over 28% since 2013, because of Canada’s efforts to become less dependant on large countries such as France and the United States.Trade AgreementsEuropean UnionFrance signed the 1957 Treaty of Rome along with Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and West Germany, to create the European Economic Community, which eventually came to be known as the European Union, which now contains 28 countries. The EU is a political and economic partnership amongst certain European countries, which has created peace and stability for France. Since the creation of the Union, there has been no military conflict between member countries, which has helped France to escape its past of being a country plagued by war. It also provides a better platform to negotiate economic agreements, and has bolstered the amount of free-trade deals in France.
creation of their universal currency, the Euro, which France adopted the Union’s common currency, the Euro, when it was created in 1999. Since the adoption of the Euro, France’s GDP has increased by 965 billion, and their GDP per capita has increased by of $12,000. The Union also allows individuals and businesses to become more involved with member countries, as it eases border security and creates more opportunities for cross-investment and business development in foreign countries.Joint Economic Action Plan Canada-France 2016-2017This agreement was made between Canada and France to go along with the creation of CETA, and essentially was intended to create better access to Canadian markets for French companies and vice-versa, and also to ensure that both companies would respect the rules of CETA after its ratification. Although this seemed to have created an equal playing field for both countries, France’s exports to Canada fell by $1.62 billion in 2016 from 2015, while Canada’s exports to France grew by $460 million in that time. This occurred because of France’s dependency on foreign natural resources, and Canada’s efforts to diversify their trade partners.
Economic TrendsThe French stock exchange was called the Paris Bourse, which merged with the Amsterdam, Lisbon and Brussels exchanges in September 2000 to form Euronext NV, which is the second largest exchange in Europe behind the UK’s London Stock Exchange Group. Since an apparent recession in the early 2000’s which lead to a trough in 2003, and another in 2008 which lead to a trough in 2009, due to the United States housing crisis, the stock has been in steady recovery ever since, although it seems as though it could be in its peak currently, which could indicate a possible upcoming recession. After flatlining in during the 1990s, the French GDP grew significantly in the early 2000s, although it has plateaued in recent years. The GDP per Capita followed a similar pattern as the GDP; rising significantly around 2000 and plateauing in recent years.Working in FranceRegulationsFrench employers are tightly regulated by law. For example, contracts between an employer and a full-time employee are considered permanent, and every worker in France gets five weeks of paid holiday. 35-hour work weeks were introduced in two stages between 2000 and 2002 to fight unemployment, but recent laws have given more flexibility to workers’ hours. For example, a certain amount of overtime is allowed, but the employees must be compensated with either extra payment or extra days off.
French workers often take advantage of these extra days off to vacation extensively during the summer Also, the French minimum wage is higher than that of Canada’s, at 1,498 Euros per month ($2,288.29 Canadian). A Canadian worker in Ontario working a 35-hour week would only make $,1960.Workplace ExpectationsA typical French workday starts at eight or nine in the morning, and ends at six in the afternoon, with a two-hour lunch break in between. Because of the liberal amount of break time, French employees tend to spend more time at work than workers in other European countries, but end up working less fewer. Because of the 35-hour working regulation, overtime is uncommon in French workplaces, as employees who aren’t overworked often have a better mental capacity to complete their tasks anyway. French companies must pay for half of all of their employees’ public travel costs, such as a monthly pass for the bus, metro or, train.
If there is no on-site cafeteria or self-service kitchen, French companies must pay half of the cost for restaurant vouchers for the employees’ lunch breaks. French new mothers are allowed 16 consecutive weeks of maternity leave, and new fathers are allowed 11 weeks. One bonus that French businesses are not obligated to provide is called “thirteenth-month bonus” which employers will use as an enticement to attract better employees. The thirteenth-month bonus gives the employee an extra month’s pay at the end of the year, which most employees use to pay their taxes.Foreign WorkersFor citizens of European Union member countries, it is very easy for to migrate to France to work because of decreased border security regulations.
This means that to expedite bureaucracy, French will often fill as many positions as possible with EU citizens, as they also tend to be well educated. France had approximately 230,000 immigrants in 2016. The French government will often expedite the process of receiving a long-stay VISA if the applicant is entering the country to take a job that is considered “in high demand”. These jobs vary from region to region, but most currently tend to be in need of various electrical and mechanical technicians. For the most part, if someone wanting to work in France already have a job lined up, all they need is a long-stay VISA, which must be submitted to the French embassy or consulate in the applicant’s country of residence. To enter France as a highly-qualified worker, you must receive a “passport talent” residence permit along with the EU Blue Card. You must also have an employment contract valid for at least 12 months and earn at least 1.
5 times the average gross reference salary. You must also hold a degree achieved after at least three years of higher education. Alternatively, you can prove your qualifications by providing evidence of five years of professional experience at an equivalent level. To work as a seasonal worker, you are eligible to apply for a seasonal worker permit if you have a seasonal work contract for a period of more than three months. You will also need a long-stay VISA. France updates its list of required vaccinations for foreign workers as the conditions of diseases change, travelers are always generally recommended to be vaccinated against Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Rabies, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis, and Influenza.
Canadian WorkersCanadians, along with Australians, Israelis, Japanese, New Zealanders, South Koreans, Americans, and citizens of the European Union are not required to obtain an EU Blue Cards to be a highly qualified worker. A Canadian just needs a valid work that is approved by DIRECCTE (the French Ministry of Employment), and then submit a long-stay VISA application to the French embassy. Within 15 days of your arrival in France, a Canadian must contact the OFII who must approve the long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit at which point you will need to undergo a medical examination. Canada’s secondary educational systems are respected around the world, although there is a higher number of highly advanced universities in France, which means that while a Canadian post-secondary degree is valued about the same, but there is more competition for elite positions. However, Canada’s two highest ranked Universities (McGill and U of T) are both ranked higher than France’s best University (École Normale Supérieure). Provided they have a valid work contract, within a Canadian’s first twelve months in France they are eligible for a residence permit, which, if accepted, can allow them to live in France for up to 10 years.UbisoftUbisoft is a large video-game publisher based in France that specializes in action/adventure combat games.
They are one of the largest video-game publishers on the planet, developing popular games such as the Assassin’s Creed franchise, Far Cry franchise, and the Prince of Persia franchise. Ubisoft was founded by Yves Guillemot with his brothers in 1986. He then founded a subsidiary company Gameloft with brother in 1999, which deals with more arcade-style mobile games. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science and Business Studies from the Institute of PME. Ubisoft is headquartered in Rennes, France, because it is less than an hour away from where the company was originally founded in Carentoir, France.
Despite this, Ubisoft has 39 subsidiary offices around the world, including five in Canada, the biggest being in Montreal. They employ over 5000 people in Canada, and have helped develop notable games such as the Prince of Persia, Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed and Watch Dogs series, as well as those in the Tom Clancy’s franchise. Since much of the work that is done at Ubisoft is in the cloud, they are able to circumvent many taxes and duties that many companies have to deal with while manufacturing and shipping products. They do not have to deal with the physical production of disks, as this is handled by the company who owns the game console.
The video-game industry is heavily subsidized in Canada, with the Province of Quebec alone providing $491 million in labour tax credits between 1998 and 2010. However, this has created a dilemma amongst Canada’s provinces, as it has seemed at times that they are engaged in a “race to the bottom” by losing out on too much capital in order to remain competitive. One issue Ubisoft has had to deal with in recent years is the repeated attempts of a hostile takeover by Vivendi, a French multinational mass media conglomerate. It started in October of 2015, when Vivendi bought 10.4% of Ubisoft shares, and have gradually increased their holding to 27.
3% currently, along with completely buying out subsidiary company Gameloft. This resulted in considerable pushback by CEO Yves Guillemot, and as a result of this, CNBC reported in November of 2017 that Vivendi will not immediately use the takeover offer granted to them by French law, but will also not rule the option out, nor sell any of its Ubisoft stock. If Vivendi ends up deciding to take over Ubisoft’s operations, it is unlikely that their operations in Canada would grow in the following years, as Vivendi and its subsidiaries have very few major operations in Canada.
France’s Economic FutureFrance’s GDP has remained stagnant in recent years, which could be the indicator of an upcoming recession that could last for a few years before recovery. Also, since France’s main exports are high-tech manufactured goods, they could get their costs undercut by emerging countries like China and India who are starting to emerge as leaders in technology. This means that France will either have to consider re-allocating some of their resources towards different industries, or invest heavily in science and innovation to try to maintain their position as a tech leader. More than half of all of France’s exports go to only six countries; all of them in Europe except the United States. France has a very strong economic partnership with most of Europe due to the European Union which has served them quite well, so the stability it has brought them will cause them to most likely continue trading with the same countries as before, although they will probably also increase their trade over the next ten years with emerging markets like China and India to take advantage of their growth. As far as individual workers go, it is safe to assume that France will continue to pass legislation to improve working conditions, as France is consistently rated inside the top 20 in the world for social progress.
Overall, France’s economy is in for a rude awakening if they do not start doing anything to make themselves different or better than other emerging countries, and could face a major oil crisis in the near future, as they are almost completely dependant on the importation of petroleum from other countries, and it’s they’re running out fast. The best way to avoid these two problems would be to solve them both at the same time; invest as much capital as possible in the development of alternative energy options, which will have skyrocketing demand in the coming years as fossil fuels become more scarce. Nevertheless, a dedicated workforce will always set its country down a positive path, so France should react just fine to whatever variables may occur.