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Canada-France Economic Relations

Canada and France maintain strong and mutually beneficial economics relations. Trade in high value-added products and services continues to be strong. The two countries are expanding their partnership in the form of direct invest- ments, strategic alliances, and scientific, technology and innovation collaborations.

Trade and Investment1

Economic relations between Canada and France offer significant growth potential. The two countries are part of the Canada-United-States-Mexico Agree- ment and the European Union, respectively, and are gateways to these two major regional mar- kets. Canada and the European Union signed a historic economic agreement, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), provisionally applied since September 2017. The main purpose of CETA is to reduce the costs of goods by eliminating tariffs, to increase mobility of people and to intensify trade in goods and services. In 2018, compared to prior-CETA 2017, bilateral trade between Canada and France increased by 11% for goods, trade in services stabi- lized and bilateral direct investment stock grew by 14%.

In 2018, France was Canada’s tenth largest partner in the world and the third largest in Europe in terms of overall trade of goods and services.

In trade of goods, France was Canada's ninth global partner and the fourth largest in Europe in 2018, with bilateral trade of 10.6 billion Canadian dollars ($). Canadian exports to France amounted to $3.4 billion, while French exports to Canada were $7.2 billion. Half of all Canadian exports to France are from hi-tech sectors (aeronautics, electrical/electronic/mechanical equip- ment, medical and measurement instruments) in addition to diversified products (minerals and metals, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, forestry and agri-food products). France exports to Can- ada capital goods (aeronautics, electrical and electronic equipment, machinery, medical instru- ments) and consumer goods (wines and spirits, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, books and newspa- pers, various agri-food products).

In trade of services, France was Canada’s fourth largest global partner and the second largest in Europe in 2018. Bilateral trade in services stabilized at $6.7 billion. Canada is a net importer of French services ($46 million). Regarding tourism, the record of 604.200 French tourists in Canada was reached while 1.2 million Canadian tourists visited France. France is the fourth source country for international visitors to Canada, the fourth most popular country in the world for Canadians, and the second European country in both directions.

Cross investments are also important and diversified. The attractiveness of France for Canadian investors is confirmed. Nearly 250 French subsidiaries of Canadian companies, employing ap- proximately 25,000 people2, are spread across the French territory. Major companies are present, such as Bombardier, Boralex, CGI, Innergex, Magna, McCain, Mitel-Aastra, OpenText, Vermilion. Many are among the leaders in their sector. France, as a country of immediate destination3 for Canadian direct investment abroad, is the sixth European destination and the twentieth world- wide, with a stock of $7.4 billion at the end of 2018, up 9.5% on 2017.

France is an increasing source of investment for Canada. Approximately 1,130 Canadians subsid- iaries of French companies are established in Canada and employ nearly 105,500 people4. In 2016, French companies held $77 billion worth of assets in Canada. They are mainly located in Quebec and Ontario, and are growing across Canada. Almost all French multinational groups, big names in industry and services and more and more SMEs are present. France, as an immediate5 foreign investing country in Canada, is the sixth largest investor from Europe and the twelfth worldwide, with a stock of $ 13.5 billion at the end of 2018, up 17% on 2017. As an ultimate6 foreign investing country, France held direct investment stock worth $ 17.8 billion at the end of 2017 and was one of the top 10 investing countries in Canada.

Science, technology and innovation

France is one of Canada’s priority countries for scientific cooperation and technology partnerships. Canada and France pledged to strengthen their cooperation in science, technology and innovation. High value-added partnerships with a focus on innovation are being developed in strategic sec- tors: aerospace; medical technologies; biotechnology as applied to medicine and agro-industry; technologies for precision agriculture; green technologies; renewable energy; advanced materi- als; nanotechnologies; and information and communication technology.

Additional data:

Canada-France Economic Relations Table

Comparative table: main economic indicators

 [August 2019]



1 All data from Statistics Canada, unless otherwise stated.

2 Eurostat & Business France data.

3 Country of immediate destination: first country by which the investment transits leaving Canada.

4  Eurostat data.

5 Immediate investing country: the last country through which foreign direct investment transits before entering the Canadian economy.

6 Ultimate investor country: country of residence of the parent company or the ultimate controlling person on the investment.

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Date Modified:
2019-08-09