Sales in France

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Reaching the Consumers

Marketing Opportunities

Consumer Behavior
Traditionally, price has been an essential element in the French consumer's buying process. However, quality is becoming more and more important for the French consumer who is now tending to favor products which have a quality label or mark. The quality of after-sales service is a decisive element in choosing where to buy.
Consumer Profile and Purchasing Power
France is a country where buying most often equals pleasure. France is famous for its high consumption of leisure and culture products and gifts. The French consumer is impulsive and makes frequent purchases. As regards foodstuffs, the French are more likely to buy domestic products.
Consumers Associations
The French Consumer Institute
UFC Que Choisir , The Federal Union of Consumers
ECC , The European Consumer Centre in France
The French Consumer Association
Main Advertising Agencies
Publicis Groupe SA
Saatchi & Saatchi

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Distributing a Product

Evolution of the Sector
In 2004, the wholesale trade represented 172,000 companies and a 53.6 billion euro turnover. The retail trade represented 350,000 companies, a 359.8 billion euro turnover. The setting up of hypermarkets is regulated by the Royer Law of 1973 and the Raffarin Law of 1996 ; they aim to protect local shops.
Market Shares
Mass marketing dominates the retail trade sector in France with, in 2006, 5,525 supermarkets and 4,074 hard discount stores. The Carrefour group is in the leading position with a turnover of 77.9 billion euros. Then comes Auchan with 35.3 billion, Intermarché with 31.5 billion, Leclerc and Casino ( 2006 ranking).
Organizations in the Retail Sector
The Federation of Trade and Distribution Companies (FCD)
The associated trade stores

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Market Access Procedures

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Member of OECD
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Wassenaar arrangement on export controls for conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies
Party of the International Coffee Agreement 2001
Main International Economic Cooperation
Member of the European Union
Member of the European Economic Area which has guaranteed, since 1 January 1993, the free movement of most goods between European countries.
Multilateral agreements and bilateral agreements with many countries.
Non Tariff Barriers
At the European level, agricultural products are protected within the Common Agricultural Policy and textile products from China, Belarus, North Korea, Montenegro, Kosovo and Uzbekistan are subject to particular formalities and import licenses or control procedures (export document, monitoring document).
At the national level, trade in plants and seeds, aircraft, and others has to be declared; they have to be certified respectively by the GNIS(the national interprofessional organization for seeds and plants), the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Agriculture.
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
Operations carried out within the EEA are free of duty.
The Common Customs Tariff of the European Union applies to goods originating outside Europe. Generally the duty is relatively low, especially for industrial products (4.2% on average).

Customs Classification
The Combined Nomenclature of the European Community (EC) integrates the HS nomenclature and supplements it with its own subheadings with an eight digit code number and its own Legal Notes created for Community purposes.
Import Procedures
For goods of a value under 1,000 kg or 1,000 EUR, a verbal declaration at customs, and presenting the invoice, is sufficient.
For higher values, you must declare it at the Customs Office:
1) a brief declaration (air or maritime manifest) to conclude the collection of the goods.
2) a common law declaration (SAD, single administrative document), as well as the accompanying documents to allow their clearance.
The SAD form can be obtained from Chambers of Commerce or an approved printer.

An online clearance platform by automated transmission (DELTA) is accessible from the portal PRODOUANE (in French).

In the case of deliveries and purchases within the European Community, the declaration of exchange of goods (DEB) or Intrastat declaration must be sent to the Customs Service.

Importing Samples
For the import, export and re-export of commercial samples the ATA (Temporary Admission) book can be used. It must be written on the product that it is a free sample and that it may not be sold.
For Further Information
French Customs website
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of the Economy, Finance and Industry
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Organizing Goods Transport

Main Useful Means of Transport
Goods transport (national and international) in France is dominated by road transport, with more than 2 billion goods transported every year. Road transport of goods is above all practical. Plans for putting trucks on trains and reviving the use of waterways could advance the development of a form of transport other than road, 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 centers of consumption in the North and in the South thanks to an extensive networking of shipping lines. The ports represent 85% in volume and 66% in value of French foreign trade.

Le Havre
Nantes Saint Nazaire
Paris - Airport Roissy-Charles de Gaulle
Sea Transport Organizations
The Ministry of equipment, transport and housing
Air Transport Organizations
The Ministry of equipment, transport and housing
Road Transport Organizations
The Ministry of equipment, transport and housing
Rail Transport Organizations
The Ministry of equipment, transport and housing

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Identifying a Supplier

Type of Production
In France, industry represents 20% of the GDP and 17% of employment.
The pharmaceutical, aeronautical, and new information and communication technology (NICT) industries have an important place on the French industrial scene.
Business Directories
The Yellow Pages
The professional pages
Firma France
Manufacturers Associations of the Main Industries
The French pharmaceutical industry association for responsible self-medication.
The French aeronautical and space industries group.
The French information industry group (GFII)
Federation of ores, industrial minerals and nonferrous metals
Federation of Railway Industries
National Association of Food Industries
Trade Agencies and Their Representations Abroad
The French confederation of trade between companies
Portal for Chambers of Commerce and Industry
The Assembly of French Chambers of Commerce and Industry
Enterprises Federation
The government information website for SMEs
Net PME, the information website for SMEs
The Directorate-General "Enterprise and Industry" of the European Commission
The CGPME (General Confederation of Small and Medium Enterprises)
The MEDEF (Movement of French Enterprises)
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