Embassy of India
India-France Economic and Commercial Relations
1. France is the 5th largest economy of the world with a total GDP of € 2.1 trillion in 2015 with a GDP growth rate of 1.1% in 2015. It had a Per Capita GDP (PPP) of € 34,144 in 2015. France is an important member of the G-8, OECD and G-20. Its technological strengths make it the leader in sectors such as aviation, space, food processing, transport, railways and agricultural research. However, France's business interaction with India is not commensurate with its intrinsic economic capacity.
2. The economic and commercial linkages are an important component of India's bilateral relations with France. The economic reforms process in India, nine Prime Ministerial visits from India to France (in 1992, 1995, 1998, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2011 & 2015), the visit of our President to France (in 2000), visit of the French Prime Minister to India (in 2003), the visits of the French President to India (in 1998, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2013 & 2016) and the growing French interest in establishing their presence in Asian markets including in India have all contributed to a broadening of economic links. The series of high-level visits in the commercial and economic field reflects the growing interest of both the governments in expanding trade between the two countries. France considers India an important market for its products and is looking to increase the number of joint ventures and encouraging investments in and from India.
3. The global trade of France increased by 2.27% in 2015 with French exports increasing by 4.05% over 2014 figures. There was a decline in exports of mineral oils and fuels while all other top ten category products registered an increase in exports: agro-food, pharmaceuticals, aeronautical and luxury products, machinery and equipment, automobiles and chemicals. French imports also increased by 0.77% in 2015. However, petroleum imports fell by 24.96%. French imports of machinery & mechanical appliances, vehicles, electrical machinery and equipment, aircraft, plastics, chemicals, optical/photographic/measuring instruments & readymade garments increased in 2015. The overall French trade deficit decreased slightly and stood at € 61 billion. France’s trade with other leading partners also increased with bilateral trade with the USA increasing by 14.69% and that with China increasing by 9.15%. Germany was France’s largest partner accounting for 16.57% of French trade, followed by Belgium and Italy. France-China trade accounted for 7.35% of France’s total foreign trade.
4. Bilateral Trade in Goods
India’s main exports to France include: Textile & textile articles (23.5% share); mineral fuels & oils (17.54%); machinery & mechanical appliances and electrical equipment (11.73%); chemical & allied products (9.5%); animal, vegetable & food products (6.8%); vehicles & aircraft (4.9%); footwear (4.7%); metals & articles thereof (3.75%); leather articles (3.5%); gems & jewellery (2.9%).
Top French exports to India include: Machinery & mechanical appliances and electrical equipment (27.47%); vehicles & aircraft (19.58%); chemical & allied products (14.63%); optical, photographic, cinematographic, measuring, checking, precision, medical or surgical instruments and apparatus; parts and accessories thereof (10.05%); metals & articles thereof (8.77%); plastics, rubber and articles thereof (5.26%); animal, vegetable & food products (3.1%).
In 2015, the total trade in goods between France and India was worth € 8.54 billion, registering an increase of 7.91% from 2014. India’s exports to France were valued at € 5.37 billion (+2.96%) whereas French exports to India totalled € 3.17 billion (+17.47%).
Of top ten products exported by India to France, only exports of refined petroleum products fell by 14.7% in 2015. Exports of apparel and clothing material from India to France registered an increase of 3.7%, boilers and machinery (16.23%), organic chemicals (3.23%), electrical machinery and equipment (6.3%), vehicles, other than railways and parts (25.88%), footwear (10.64%), leather goods (6.76%) and gems and jewellery (28.23%) also registered an increase in exports to France.
French exports to India increased by 17.47% in 2015. Exports of following top 10 ranked products increased: electrical machinery & equipment (42.92%); machinery and mechanical appliances (6.76%); optical, photographic, cinematographic, measuring, checking, precision, medical or surgical instruments and apparatus & parts thereof (85.72%); organic chemicals (11.51%); plastics & articles thereof (14.37%); miscellaneous chemical products (36.35%); pharmaceutical products (9.01%). However, exports of iron & steel & articles thereof fell by 15.24% and exports of aircraft & spacecraft remained stable (+0.19%).
The trade surplus which is in favour of India for the past 10 years stood at 2.2 billion euros in 2015 down from 2.5 billion euros in 2014. India had a 1.06% share in French imports in 2015 while French exports to India represented 0.71% of total French exports.
India-France Goods Trade in the last 10 years (figures in million €)
||Indian Exports to France
||French Exports to India
||Balance of Trade for India
||% Change (YoY) in total trade
Source: French Ministry of Economy, Finance & Industry. Data rounded off to nearest million €.
Trends in 2016
In Jan-Sep 2016, India France bilateral trade stood at € 6.5 billion (+0.48%) as compared to the corresponding period the previous year. India’s exports to France fell by 11.02% during this period with a fall in exports of following top 10 products exported by India to France: mineral fuels and oils (- 68.25%), organic chemicals (-3.28%), knitted or crocheted articles of apparel & clothing accessories (-4.8%) & articles of leather (-2.51%). There was however an increase in exports of following top 10 products: automobiles and parts (14.76%), gems and jewellery (27.46%), articles of apparel & clothing accessories (not knitted or crocheted) (+5.54%).
Meanwhile, French exports to India increased by 20.65% during the same period: Exports of following top 10 ranked products increased: aircraft & spacecraft (117.79%); electrical machinery & equipment (6.54%); nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery & mechanical appliances (9.13%); iron & steel (17.79%); articles of iron & steel (13.49%); pharmaceutical products (40.35%); edible vegetables (205.86%) & plastics and articles thereof (14.29%). However, exports of organic chemicals fell by 6.12% and optical, photographic, cinematographic, measuring, checking, precision, medical or surgical instruments and apparatus & parts thereof (-20.04%).
Top 10 Indian Exports to France for Jan.-Sep 2016
||Top 10 Indian exports to France
||Jan-Sep ’15 /Jan-Sep ‘16
||Articles of apparel and clothing accessories, not knitted or crocheted
||Articles of apparel and clothing accessories knitted or crocheted
||Nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances; parts thereof
||Mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation; bituminous substances; mineral waxes
||Electrical machinery and equipment and parts thereof; sound recorders and reproducers, television image and sound recorders and reproducers, and parts and accessories of such articles
||Footwear, gaiters and the like; parts of such articles
||Vehicles other than railway or tramway rolling-stock, and parts and accessories thereof
||Articles of leather; saddlery and harness; travel goods, handbags and similar containers; articles of animal gut (other than silk-worm gut)
||Natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious stones, precious metals, metals clad with precious metal and articles thereof; imitation jewellery; coin
||Total of French Imports from India
Source: French Customs
5. Bilateral Trade in Services:
Based on annual data provided by Banque de France, bilateral trade in services has shown a growth from 2011-2014, reaching € 3.68 billion in 2014, but has decreased by 7.33% in 2015 to € 3.41 billion. Total Indian exports in the services sector stood at € 1.71 billion in 2015. Exports of French services to India stood at € 1.69 billion during last year. The major areas for trade in services include: transport, other services to businesses, travel and telecommunication, computer & information services.
India-France Trade in Services for past 5 years (in Million €)
|Year (Jan. to Dec.)
||Indian Exports to France
||French Exports to India
||%age of increase/decrease
Composition of India-France Trade in Services in 2015 (in million €)
||Major categories of services
||Indian Exports to France
||Indian Imports from France
||Manufacturing services supplied by physical inputs held by third parties
||Maintenance & repair services
||Building & public works
||Pension & insurance services
||Commission for use of intellectual property
||Telecommunication, computer & information services
||Other services to businesses
||Cultural, leisure & personal services
||Goods & services of public administration
||Other services (not included elsewhere)
Source: Banque de France
6. French investments in India
France has emerged as a major source of FDI for India with about 750 big French companies already present in India. France is the 9th largest foreign investor in India with a cumulative investment of USD 5.15 billion from April 2000 to May 2016 which represents 1.75% of the total FDI inflows into India according to statistics provided by the DIPP. The highest FDI equity inflows are in the services sector (19.02%), with cement & gypsum products (16.49%) in second place, followed by drugs & pharmaceuticals (6.06%), food processing industries (5.86%) and industrial machinery (6.06%).
Most big French groups have their subsidiaries in India. However, there are a few joint ventures and liaison offices of French companies in India. 39 of the 40 CAC 40 (French Stock Market Index) companies are present in India. Around 50-70 SMEs are also present in India essentially in the mechanical and pharma-chemical sectors. French companies are present in a wide range of sectors: services (BNP Paribas, Capgemini, Havas, Sodexo, etc.); pharmaceutical-chemical (Arkema, L’Oréal, Sanofi, Total, etc.); aerospace (Airbus, Dassault, Eurocopter, Safran, Thales, etc.); agro-food (Bongrain, Danone, Lactalis, Lesaffre, Pernod Ricard, etc.); electronics (Crouzet, Gemalto, Oberthur, Safran, STMicroelectronics, etc.); construction mechanics (Alstom, Cermex, Legris Group, Poclain, Sidel, etc.); electrical components (Hager, Legrand, Schneider Electric, etc.); automobile (Faurecia, Michelin, Plastic Omnium, Renault, Valeo, etc.).
French investments cleared during 2015 include amongst others, proposals from Louis Vuitton Malletier (luggage & luxury leather goods), Freyssinet International & Compagnie (constructing heavy construction projects), Sanofi Pasteur (healthcare solutions), Safran Engineering Services (engineering services to the aerospace, energy & ground transport industries), Serap Industries (liquid & food preservation), Arkadin (conferencing services), Aubert & Duval (alloy steels, stainless steel & special steels), Beaujon (insurance & asset Management) and Péters Surgical (surgical sutures & meshes).
[According to the estimates from the French Embassy in India, French companies employ almost 300,000 persons in India and have a turnover of more than 20 billion USD and have a minimum stock investment portfolio of USD 19 billion].
FDI equity inflows From France
|Financial Year (April-March)
FDI Equity Inflows from France
|Rs. in crores
||% change YoY
|Cumulative Inflows (April 2000 to Sep 2016)
(Based on RBI & DIPP data)
7. Indian Investments in France
There are almost 75 Indian companies operating in France (more than 120 including sub-subsidiaries), employing more than 7,000 people. Twelve new Indian investments were recorded in 2015, creating or maintaining 290 jobs. 42% of Indian investments in France were in production/manufacturing, 33% were in business services, followed by 17% in decision-making centres.
India was the 30th largest foreign investor in France with cumulative FDI inflows amounting to € 457 million (according to 2013 statistics by the French Central Bank). Indian Investments in France have been growing and it is estimated that the total stock of Indian investments in France is approximately € 1 billion. Indian investment in France has come in different sectors such as pharmaceuticals (Ranbaxy & Wockhardt), software and IT (Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys & Wipro), wine (Kingfisher), steel (Tata Steel, Electrosteel), plastics (Sintex Industries), railway wagons (Titagarh Wagons), aerospace (Cades, Axis Aerospace & Technologies), Auto Parts (Jyoti), Two-wheelers (Mahindra& Mahindra), Metal Forging (Bharat Forge). Sintex Industries, Tata Group, Mahindra & Mahindra, Mahajan Group and Motherson Sumi are the four largest Indian employers in France. The following Indian companies invested in France in 2015: Mahindra & Mahindra which acquired 51% share of Peugeot Two-Wheelers and Bharat Forge which acquired Mécanique Générale Langroise (MGL).
[According to statistics released by Business France, in 2015 there was a 27% increase in jobs generated by foreign investment in France: 962 investment decisions created or maintained 33,682 jobs in France (as compared to 26,535 in 2014 - France’s best performance in the past five years). Foreign investments were received from 53 different countries in 2015, up from 47 in 2014: 60% of all foreign investment decisions were from European countries, followed by North America (22%) and Asia (13%), in very similar proportions to 2014. The leading source countries were the United States (18%), accounting for one-quarter of all inward R&D investments; Germany (15%), accounting for 26% of all foreign production/manufacturing projects; Italy (9%), providing 31% of inward investment in logistics; the United Kingdom (8%), accounting for 22% of all foreign investment in retail outlets; and Japan (6%), the fourth leading source of foreign production/manufacturing investment. BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China) accounted for 7% of inward investments in France (68 investment decisions), including 44 projects from China and Hong Kong.
8. Issues related to trade protection/rejection of Indian goods, Sanitary and Phytosanitary/Technical Barriers and other nontariff barriers- France, being a member of the EU, these issues relate to EU bodies, however, some EU actions originate in France. In 2015, there were 6 cases of border rejections of Indian products by French authorities, (compared to 12 in 2014). These related to mostly food-products on account of detection of banned substances or quantities above the minimum permissible levels being found during inspections.
9. Bilateral Mechanisms to promote Trade and Investments- India-France Joint Committee for Economic & Technical Cooperation (JCETC) was set up on 26th January 1976 through an exchange of letters between the Ministers of Commerce and Foreign Trade. Meetings are held at Ministerial level alternately in Delhi and Paris. This Joint Committee is the major institutional mechanism for cooperation in the economic and technical sector. The 16th session of the Joint Committee was held on 23-25 June 2010 in Paris. The entire gamut of bilateral economic and commercial relationship was reviewed at the meeting, and both sides agreed to continue and intensify cooperation. No dates have been fixed for the next meeting of the Joint Committee.
Joint Working Groups (JWGs) at the senior official level have also been constituted through MOUs to deal with specific aspects of economic cooperation, including for Agriculture and Food Processing, IT & Telecommunications, Roads, Sustainable Urban Development and Energy. During the visit of French President to India (14-15 February 2013), the two countries further agreed to establish an annual bilateral Economic and Financial Dialogue (EFD) between the two Finance Ministries on economic and financial issues. The first such Economic and Financial Dialogue was held in Paris on 29 October, 2013.
10. Bilateral Agreements/ Memorandum of Understanding (MoU): India and France have signed a number of Agreements to facilitate the expansion of commercial relations. Among these are the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC) [where India has requested a protocol, to amend Article 28 to insert new disclosure norms on which bilateral consultations are continuing], Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA), MOU on cooperation in Tourism, MOU on Intellectual Property and a Social Security Exemption Agreement (SSA). In October 2012 India and France signed an Agreement for cooperation in the field of Sustainable Urban Development. Another MoU on Bilateral Cooperation in Food Industries Sector was signed on 24 October 2012. During the visit of French President to India (14-15 February 2013), the two countries concluded an MoU between the Ministry of Railways of the Republic of India and the French National Railways (SNCF) on Technical Cooperation in the field of Railway Sector as well as a General Framework Agreement between Oséo (the French innovation promotion agency) and Technology Development Board (TDB) of India to establish a collaborative framework under which Oséo and TDB may carry out activities related to the exchanging of best practices and the setting up of coordinated measures to foster technological exchanges and innovation collaborations between companies, organizations and institutions of France and India. The following four agreements/MoUs were signed during the visit of Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi to France on 10-11 April, 2015: i) MoU on cooperation in the field of renewable energy between the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India and the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, Government of France; ii) Railway Protocol between Indian Ministry of Railways and French National Railways (SNCF) on cooperation in semi high speed rail and station renovation; iii) MoU between National Skill Development Agency (NSDA), India and the National Commission for Vocational Qualifications (Commission Nationale de la Certification Professionnelle - CNCD); iv) Letter of Intent on Tourism. During French President François Hollande’s visit to Indian in January 2016, MoUs were signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mr. Hollande in the field of smart and sustainable cities and helicopter production as also JV agreements and Letters of Intent in the field of renewable energy/wind energy.
11. Agreement on Social Security: An Agreement on Social Security exemption was signed during PM’s visit in September 2008. The Agreement has been ratified by the two sides and has come into force on 1 July 2011. The agreement will protect the interests of expatriate workers and the companies on a reciprocal basis. It helps workers by (i) providing for exemption from social security contribution in case of short-term contracts; (ii) exportability of pension in case of relocation to the home country or any third country; and (iii) totalization of the contribution periods.
12. VIE (Volontariat international en enterprise)- (Voluntary International Apprenticeship programme): Under this scheme, started in 2008, young French interns/graduates are sent to French companies in India as trainees for a period of one year. The cost is borne by the company utilizing the trainee, with Government defraying certain costs and offering tax subsidies to companies utilizing the scheme. At present there is a cap of 250 visas per annum under the scheme, and the validity of the scheme has been extended till September 2020.
13. CEOs Forum: During French President’s visit to India in January 2008, it was decided to establish an India-France Foundation which could begin as an India-France high level CEO’s Round Table. An announcement was made during PM’s visit to France in September 2008 to set up an India-France High level CEOs Forum. The Indian side is headed by Mr. Dhruv Sawhney, Chairman, Triveni Engineering & Industries (earlier by Mr. Narayana Murthy, Chief Mentor of Infosys). The French side is headed by Mr. Paul Hermelin, CEO of CAPGEMINI and Special Representative of the French Government for Indo-French Economic Relations. The 1st meeting of the Forum was held in New Delhi on 28-29 November 2009; 2nd meeting took place on 24-25 June 2010 at Paris; 3rd meeting was held in New Delhi on 6 December 2010; 4th meeting held in Paris on 30-31 January 2012; 5th meeting of the Forum held in New Delhi in November 2012 which discussed issues related to India-France collaboration on various PPP projects in infrastructure, sustainable development with focus on energy efficiency and corporate social responsibility, especially in the field of promoting education. During the visit of the French President to India on 14-15 February 2013, the CEO’s forum presented its recommendations on Private-Public Partnerships, Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development to the two governments. The 6th meeting of the CEO Forum was held in Paris on 8-9 July 2013. The meeting discussed issues related to Education and employability through skill building. The Indian CEOs called on the French President and were assured that they would be treated at par with French businesses when investing in France. The 7th meeting of the CEO’s Forum was held in Paris, France on 9 April 2015 as a precursor to the visit of the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi to France in April, 2015. The French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Mr. Laurent Fabius, was present at the Forum as also Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Mr. Amitabh Kant. 30 CEOs took part in this event. The topics discussed included Energy, Water, Agro and Food Processing, Skill Development and Education, Defence and Aerospace and Life Sciences. There was a decision to constitute five Task Forces with designated Sherpas on (i) Energy (conventional and renewable) (ii) Water and Waste (iii) Life Sciences (iv) Defence & Aerospace and (v) Infrastructure Financing; the 8th meeting of the Forum was held in Chandigarh on 24 Jan 2016 during the visit of President Hollande to India. The French Finance Minister Mr. Michel Sapin and Secretary Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Mr. Amitabh Kant attended this session. Projects were proposed in the following identified sectors: defence, green economy, smart cities, infrastructure & transportation, water, and financial sector. The 9th meeting of the Forum is scheduled to be held in Paris on 13 Jan 2017.
14. India-France Economic Cooperation through AFD (French Agency for Development)- Pursuant to signing of an MoU in September 2008 between Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) and the French Agency for Development, the AFD extends credit for various projects in India. The priority areas for AFD economic cooperation in India are (i) energy efficiency and renewable energy within the framework of the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), (ii) urban infrastructure (public transport, water, etc., through sustainable development projects and infrastructure development programmes such as JNNURM), and (iii) the preservation of biodiversity. The current projects being supported by the AFD include (i) ‘Reorganizing the Water Supply System of Jodhpur City in Rajasthan’, Phase II worth € 71.1 million (ii) ‘Forestry and Bio-diversity Conservation Project in Assam’ worth € 54 million (iii) Credit Facility Agreement (CFA) for the Bangalore Metro Rail Project, Phase-I (iv) IREDA II and (v) Cochin Metro Project.
15. India France Business Associations in France- France India Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Paris (CCIFI) was created in 1984 as a non-profit organization that aims to promote bilateral commercial relations between India and France. It has as its members several Indian and French companies. The Mission has been working with CCIFI to promote bilateral relations through joint activities. The Chamber brings out a fortnightly newsletter in French and English which provides information in brief on various topics pertaining to economy, trade and industry. With the support of the Mission, an India-France Business Club was started in January 2014 in Marseille, the second largest city in France after Paris and the largest port to assist Indian businesses, entrepreneurs and to generate interest about India among the French businesses in the region.
16. Activities for promoting Trade and Investments: Promotion of economic and commercial relations between India and France is a major priority for the Mission and the E&C wing, under the direction and guidance of the Ambassador, works to promote Indian business and industry by encouraging trade and investment, assisting Indian firms with Government and private sector contacts, providing information, supporting and advising Indian companies about the French market. The major commercial activities of the Mission include: (i) promotion of Indian goods and services in France, (ii) promotion of Brand India and corporate image of India, (iii) promotion of India as a foreign direct investment destination and (iv) promotion of the ‘Make in India’ campaign. In each of these sectors, the specific action involves information and intelligence gathering, communication and information dissemination, referral activities, advocacy, logistic management and coordination activities.
Recent Ministerial visits from India to France:
5-6 October, 2015 – Visit of Shri Venkaiah Naidu, Minister of Urban Development to Bordeaux to attend a Global Intelligent Transportation Summit. During his visit, he also met France’s Minister of the Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs, Ms. Segolene Royal in Paris.
11-12 April, 2016 – Visit to France of Shri Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Railways, to discuss the possible Areas of Cooperation between India and France in the Railway Sector. Hon’ble Minister also addressed the ‘Emerging Forum’ organized by Banque de France. He met Minister of State for Railways Mr. Alain Vidalies and also paid a courtesy call on Mr. Laurent Fabius, President of the Constitutional Council of France.
1-2 June, 2016 - Visit of Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Commerce and Industry, to attend the Informal Gathering of the WTO Ministers on the margins of the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting.
1-5 September, 2016 – Visit of Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani, Minister of Textiles to Paris during the Who’s Next Premiere Class Textile &Garments Exhibition. She met Mr. Marc Antoine Jamet, Secretary General of LVMH the French luxury goods group.
18-20 October, 2016 – Visit of Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Minister of Food Processing Industries during the SIAL Food Fair in Paris. She met French Minister of Agriculture, Food & Forest, Mr. Stephane Le Foll.
17-20 October, 2016 – Visit of Dr. Subash Bhambre, Minister of State (Defence Production) for Euronaval Defence Exhibition. During his visit, he also called on French Defence Minister, Mr. Jean Yves Le Drian.
November 21, 2016