France – La République De L’Amour
France is located in Western Europe, bordering the countries of Andorra, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Spain, and Switzerland. It spans an area of 643,801 km2 (248,573 sq mi). The entire french population is around 67,413,000 people (est. 2021), with a density of population of 104.7109/km2. Metropolitan France’s population is around 65,239,000 people (est. May 2021), with a density of population of 116/km2 (300.4/sq mi), making it one of the most populated countries in Europe.
The metropolitan mainland area of France is divided into 22 regions for administrative purposes, which are sub-divided into 100 departments and 342 districts. It is a member of many international organizations such as the WTO, G20, G8, NATO, and the United Nations (U.N.). In 1957 France became a fully-fledged member of the European Union (E.U.), and in 2002 it replaced the French franc (FRA) with the unified euro (EUR) currency system.
Economy of France
France is one of the wealthiest nations in Europe, with a GDP purchasing polarity figure of $2.6 trillion (est. 2020). Its economy is based around a strong service sector, which contributes 78% of the total GDP and employs 71% of the workforce. The largest companies in France based on gross revenue are Total S.A. (oil and gas), AXA (finance), Carrefour (retail), and BNP Paribas (finance).
France is one of the most visited countries globally, attracting over 89 million international tourists annually, who generate an estimated 7% of the country’s total GDP figure. The most popular tourist destination is the capital city of Paris, while ski resorts in the Alps and stunning beaches along the French Rivera are also known tourist hot-spots.
According to WTO data, France exported USD 488.4 billion worth of goods and imported USD 582.6 billion worth of goods in 2020. Meanwhile, it exported USD 245 billion worth of services and imported USD 137.5 billion worth of services in 2020 – mostly machinery and transportation equipment, chemicals, and pharmaceutical products. Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Belgium are the countries largest export partners.
France has one of the most sophisticated infrastructures in the World, generated through the government’s heavy investments in the field.
France has a modern and well-developed transportation network, which spans the entire country, and allows for convenient travel by road, rail, and air. Around 450 modern airports serve the country, which gives France the third-largest number of airports in Europe, after Germany and the United Kingdom. The largest is Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (GDG), located 25km north-east of Paris‘s city center. It is the busiest airport in Europe based on the number of passengers it handles (76,150,007 in 2019), and it offers frequent flights to international destinations. It also has a large cargo terminal which acts as a base for 12 international cargo carrying airlines.
Most of the 29,901km of railways running throughout the country are owned and operated by French National Railways (SNCF). The TGV system has technologically advanced trains that can travel up to 300km an hour, and the Eurostar rail route can transport passengers from Paris to London in just 2 hours and 15 minutes. There are around 965,916 kilometers (600,192 miles) of roadways in the country, with tolls located on the major highways, to collect money that is partially re-invested back into the transportation system.
Marseille Port is the largest in the country, accomodating both passenger and cargo ships. There are 8 other major ports in the country: Bordeaux, Calais, Dunkerque, Le Havre, Nantes, Paris, Rouen and Strasbourg.
Workforce of France
France has a total labor force of over 30 million (est. 2020) – the third-largest in Europe after Germany and the United Kingdom. The official and sole language are French, with 77 regional dialects spoken across the country, while English is taught in all secondary schools and is widely spoken in tourist areas. Languages such as Arabic, French, German, Flemish, and Catalan are also spoken by ethnic minorities who make up 8% of the total population.
The education system is structured and well developed, helping to produce a highly educated workforce and a total national literacy rate of 99%. School attendance is compulsory for all citizens up to 15 years of age and provided by the state free of charge. Higher educational facilities consist of universities and grandes écoles, offering internationally accredited degree programs. There are more than 3,500 public and private institutes of higher education., five catholic universities, and several individual institutes, offering degree programs and courses that usually focus on a specific field of study.
A 35 hour work week was first introduced in 2000, reducing the number of hours worked from the standard 39. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of worked hours has been lowered to 32 hours (or a four-day week). All hours worked over this threshold are considered overtime and are eligible for additional payment.
Business Costs in France
Rental expenses are highest in the Paris CBD, with an average cost of $93.14 per square foot per annum, making it the 8th most expensive city for office rental space. The cities of Lyon and Marseilles have much lower rental prices, where it costs an average of $34.59 and $28.61 per square foot per annum, respectively.
From 2022, the standard corporate tax rate is 25% on all profits. Individual taxes are based on both a progressive and share system, from 0% to 45%. The amount payable depends on the amount earned and the number of people part of the family (living in the same household).
The value-added tax rate in France is 20%.
A wage pact is known as the Salaire Minimum Interprofessionnel de Croissance (SMIC), which ensures workers are paid at least €10.52 per hour, or €1.539,42 EUR a month on the standard 35-hour workweek. Labor costs are relatively high for a European country – even higher than the United Kingdom’s minimum wage of £5.80 per hour, which converts to €6.63 per hour.