The trade balance has plunged into the red

France’s trade balance tilted in the wrong direction in 2020. The cause is free-fall exports in the aeronautics and automotive sectors. International sales of pharmaceutical products have increased.

The annual customs report highlights the major weaknesses of the French economy, starting with the deindustrialisation of its textile sector. Imports of masks, in particular from China, represented 5.9 billion euros: so much money that weighs heavily in France’s trade balance. The difference between exports and imports widened by 7.3 billion euros more than in 2019. The trade deficit between France and the rest of the world reached 65.2 billion euros. Globally, exports declined in just about all sectors, including aeronautics and automobiles, according to Customs.

Aeronautics and automotive in free fall

In aeronautics, exports of airplanes and engines painfully reached 35 billion euros in 2020, while the previous year had marked a ” historical record »Sales of 64.3 billion, a decline of 45.5% year on year. As for the automotive sector, exports fell by 18.7% to 40 billion euros. These poor results must be seen as the direct consequence of the health crisis which has paralyzed production as well as demand. The Customs however note the good health of the pharmaceutical sector whose exports increased by 4.7% to reach 35.5 billion euros. A historic record.

Trade in free fall

France’s trade deficit has deteriorated particularly vis-à-vis Asia, reaching 9.6 billion euros, of which 6.6 billion with China. ” In connection with the effects of the first confinement, the deterioration in trade is particularly marked in the first half of the year, before a gradual recovery during the second half of the year, until reaching a level close to that of 2019 at the end of the year. year », Decrypts Franck Riester, the Minister for Foreign Trade who wants to play the card of optimism despite everything.

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