CEPII, Recherche et Expertise sur l'economie mondiale
Multinational Enterprises and the French Trade Deficit

Pierre Cotterlaz
Sébastien Jean
Vincent Vicard

We assess whether multinational enterprises played a specific role in the deterioration of the French trade balance over 2000-2018.
French multinationals contribute positively to the trade balance of goods, contrary to foreign multinationals and domestic firms. Yet their declining surplus, down by nearly 2 percentage points of GDP between 2000 and 2018, explains the deterioration of the French trade balance over the past two decades.
Econometric evidence shows that this does not reflect poor specialization by French multinationals in the early 2000s or their takeover by foreign investors, but rather a specific trend in the sectors they dominate, beyond the cost conditions common to all companies in France.
Against a background of buildup in French FDIs, these results suggest that the internationalization strategies of French firms have been dominated by offshoring over this period, including to serve the domestic market or previous export markets.

 Data :   pb2022-38.xlsx

 Keywords : Multinational enterprises | Trade balance | Competitiveness

 JEL : F15, F23
CEPII Policy Brief
N°2022-38,  2022

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