Get information for your importing and exporting activities in three steps

flag France France: Buying

In this page: Customs Procedures | Industrial and Manufacturing Profile | Identifying a Supplier | Controlling the Quality of the Products | Organizing Goods Transport To and From France


Customs Procedures

Export Clearance
The export procedure foresees, in principle, two stages:

First the exporter/declarant presents the goods, his export declaration and, when necessary, his export authorization or license at the customs office responsible for the place where he is established or where the goods are packed or loaded for export (Article 161 (5) CC). The export declaration must be submitted by electronic means, through the Export Control System (ECS).

Subsequently, the goods are presented at the customs office of exit which examines the goods presented based on the information received from the customs office of export and makes sure that they correspond to those declared and supervises their physical departure (Article 332 UCC IA).

In the case of goods exported by rail, post, air or sea, the customs office of exit may be the office competent for the place where the goods are taken over under a single transport contract for transport to a third country (e.g. port, airport, railway station).

Necessary Declaration

The Customs declaration must contain the commercial invoice, which is a record or evidence of the transaction between the exporter and the importer. The commercial invoice contains the basic information on the transaction:

  • code, number, name, quantity and price of the product;
  • destination of the goods and the address of the person or place of reception;
  • name and registration number of the transport company;
  • place of warehousing.
It is only prohibited to export cultural artifacts, specimens of flora and fauna which are threatened with extinction and war material, arms, munitions and such.
Export Taxes

Return to top

Industrial and Manufacturing Profile

Type of Production
In France, the sector of industry represents 17.1% of the GDP and 19.9% of total employment (World Bank). The pharmaceutical, aeronautical, and new information and communication technology (NICT) industries have an important place in the French industrial scene.
Professional Associations by Sector
161 professional associations listed for France.

Return to top

Type of Manufacturers

Original Equipment Manufacturers
OEMs in France are generally manufacturers of spare parts for the automobile, aeronautical, IT and electronic industries. Among the French OEMs , there are large groups such as, for example, Valeo (automobile) or Atos (IT).
Original Design Manufacturers
A large number of subcontractors have had to adapt to the requirements of their industrial clients and take a bigger part in the industrial production process. They have gone from the simple task of making parts to that of helping with decision making or marketing. In France, it is often subcontractors of IT or electronic components who have become designer subcontractors.
Subcontracting in France is extensive and dynamic. It is particularly well-developed in the fields of the iron and steel industry, the plastics industry, foundry work, spinning and weaving for the automobile, aeronautical, rail, electronic and textile industries.
French subcontractors provide high-quality services or products as their workforce is highly qualified. Some subcontractors are also chosen for their renown. They are appreciated for their ability to innovate which, nevertheless, would deserve investment in Research and Development which they cannot always carry out because of the need to reduce production costs.
Useful Resources
Directory of subcontracting (in French)
Industrial subcontracting trade fair

Return to top

Identifying a Supplier

Business Directories

Multi-sector Directories
ABC France - B2B information in France - France - Directory of companies in France
Annuaire des Entreprises de France - Directory of French companies
Dun & Bradstreet - Worldwide directory with financial information on businesses
French Commercial Chamber - Directory of millions of French companies
French Polynesia Directory - Yellow page in Polynesia
Indexa - Online directory of professionals and companies
Infogreffe - Certified financial information on companies
Le French Tech - French startup directory
MacRAE'S Blue Book - Business directory with detailed information of companies in Europe
Manageo - French companies directory - Company directory in France.
The professional pages - B2B directory
The Yellow Pages - Business directory in France - Financial information on French companies

To search directories by industry in France, check out our service Business Directories.


Return to top


Marketplaces incorporated in the country
Aero Bay
Artisans de France
Marketplaces present on the continent

To go further, check out our service Online Marketplaces.

Return to top

Controlling the Quality of the Products

Quality Control Organizations
Bureau Veritas

Return to top

Organizing Goods Transport To and From France

Main Useful Means of Transport
The transport (national and international) of goods in France is dominated by road transport, with more than 2 billion goods transported every year. Road transport of goods is above all practical. Due to the size of the country and its location in the middle of Europe, but also due to its importance as a country with large manufacturing industries, French roads continue to be among the most important for European-wide international road freight transport: 18.3 % of all tonne-kilometres performed in international road freight transport took place in France, according to latest data by Eurostat. Plans for putting trucks on trains and reviving the use of waterways could advance the development of a form of transport other than roads, but their potential remains limited.

International goods transport for its part is dominated by sea transport. This means of transport is economical, and France is easy to access because of its extensive sea coast. Five of the fifteen biggest European ports are located in France; they are linked with each other and serve the other large European centres of consumption in the North and in the South thanks to an extensive network of shipping lines. The ports represent 85% in volume and 66% in value of French foreign trade. However, according to Eurostat, France recorded a decline (-7.8%) in the tonnes of goods handled in its main ports in the fourth quarter of 2019, compared to the same quarter of the previous year. The gross weight of goods in France was 71.1 million tonnes in 2019, an overall annual change of -2.7%.

Return to top

By Rail

Transport Professionals
The SNCF freight website
Government Transport Organisations
Ministry of Ecological Transition

Return to top

Any Comment About This Content? Report It to Us.


© Export Entreprises SA, All Rights Reserved.
Latest update: September 2022

Return to top