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France and the Textile Industry Report

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Updated: May 10th, 2020

France is the fifth largest economy behind nations such as the United Stated, Germany, Japan, and China. France enjoys or prides itself of a diversified, large industrial and agricultural sector. It is one of the leaders in aircraft, pharmaceuticals, military equipment, cosmetics, wheat, beef, and wine producer in the world. It also boasts as being the most popular tourist destination in the world. The textile industry has also not been left behind in France (Trading Economics 2013).

Over the years, the industry has played a major role in the growth of the French economy. The French textile industry is dynamic and innovatively involved in mass production of textile products. France is the third largest garment producer in Europe. The industry is comprised of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). However, the growth of the textile industry in France has been plagued by volatile economic situations in the Eurozone, increasing competition at the global scale, as well as socio-economic dynamics.

The Eurozone economic recession in the last five years has had far reaching consequences in France (European Commission 2011). The country is one of the largest economies in Europe, as well as on a global level. In fact, France is among the biggest economy in Europe, only second to Germany. According to The New York Times, the French economy stalled in the second quarter of 2013. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted by 0.1 percent within the period as compared to the previous quarter. In 2009, the French GDP grew by -3.1%, the worst it has ever recorded in decades. It recorded 1.7%, 2.1%, and 0.0% growth in GDP in 2010, 2011, and 2012 respectively (World Bank 2013).

In comparison to the largest economy in Europe, Germany recorded a GDP growth of -5.1%, 4.2%, 3.0%, and 0.7% in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 respectively (World Bank 2013). In real figures, France recorded a GDP of $2.613 trillion in 2012, compared to $3.400 trillion recorded in Germany. However, France never did well when compared to the United States, which recorded a GDP of $15.58 trillion in 2012. The dismal performance is attributed to the recession in Europe (Jolly & Jack 2013).

In 2012, France recorded a Gross National Product of $2.413 trillion PPP (World Bank 2013). This compares to $3.43 trillion PPP and 15.89 trillion PPP dollars recorded in Germany and the United States respectively. However, this differential is understandable basing on the populations of these countries. France has a total population of 65.7 million people compared to 313.9 million people and 81.89 people in the United States and Germany respectively (World Bank 2013).

France being a member of the EU is bound by the EU external trade policy. China is the major exporter of textile products to France, and since the collapse of the safeguard restrictions and quotas in 2007; China’s exports to the EU are no longer monitored. It has been a number one exporter of textile products to the French market. However, French imports of textile from China declined by 14 percent in 2012.

India is the second largest exporter of textiles to the French market. It also recorded a decline in its sales in the EU, which suggests a decline in the volume of trade with France. India recorded a slip in exports of 21.8%, within the same year China witnessed a decline in its exports to France and the EU in general. Within the same period, Indonesia which is a key exporter of textiles to the French market also recorded a slump of 23.1 percent in 2012. Malaysia also marked a decline of 2.8 percent of its textile exports to France in the same year. These declines in exports to France are attributed to the economic down-turn in the Eurozone in the past five years. However, France became the largest importer of Spanish knitwear within the same period. The same imports in France surged by 22%, which was an equivalent of €480 million (Fibre2fashion 2013)

The figures above are based on recent trends in the textile industry in France during the year 2012 at the European level, and no further statistics have been found to justify the major textile exporters. However, as per 2006, China was the largest supplier of exports to France. The country accounted for 15 percent of the total textile imports in the 2006. Italy, Germany, Belgium, and Turkey accounted for 13%, 7%, 6%, and 5% respectively. India/Spain, Tunisia/Bangladesh/Portugal accounted for 4% and 3% of France textile imports (Sawhney 2008:14).

Despite the EU recording an increase of its textile exports to other non-members countries of the EU by 12.1%, the exports from some countries within this economic block dwindled by 11.6%. In 2005, the European Union accounted for the largest export destination totaling to 61.3% of French textiles exports. South Eastern Asia accounted for 11.5% of the French textile industry. This was followed by North America, other European countries, and Africa at 7.0%, 5.7%, and 4.8% respectively. At an aggregate level, the French textile imports amounted to $15.7 billion. On the other hand, its exports to other countries totaled to $10.5 billion.

The textile industry is a major employer in the French economy. During 2006, the industry employed 86,070 people (Sawhney 2008:14). In the same year, the industry employed more men than women. Male employees accounted for about 52% of the total work force size. Women accounted for only 48% of the work force. However, there has been a steady decline in employment in the industry. Employment within the sector dropped beyond 55% (Sawhney 2008:14). This is attributed to the intensive nature of labor used in the industry. There is an element of bias when it comes to wages with women employed within the industry earning 70% of what the male counterparts on the same job level received. This is low compared to the 80% earned within the industry. It is also important to note that though the textile industry employs a relatively high number of women in France, a majority of them are not trained.

The pay is low as compared to their male counterparts. This could be attributed to the lack of training among women employed within the industry. France has upheld the International Labor Organization’s rules and regulations when it comes to its labor laws. There are stricter rules that prohibit child labor across all industries. These laws are replicated in the French textile industry. These rules prohibit any form of child labor. Furthermore, child labor has been eliminated or reduced to its minimum through the provision of full-time education for all children.

The textile industry is predominantly composed of SMEs. Barbara Bui SA is a French company that is involved in the design, manufacturing, and marketing of finished textiles and accessories (Barbara Bui 2013). Barbara Bui traces its begin as a boutique in Rue De Turbig, Paris where it opened its first Studi-boutique in 1983. It created its Barbara Bui label in1987 after the successful staging of a fashion show in the same year. Ten years later it sold its first stocks in the stock market. As a result of the expanding design and manufacturing textile industry, it opened its first foreign boutiques in New York and Milan in 1999. Currently Barbara Bui markets its products in four major retail shops in Paris, New York, Russia, and Nice (Barbara Bui 2013).

Works Cited

Barbara Bui. 2013. Web.

European Commission. 2011 In-depth assessment of the situation of the T&C sector in the EU and prospects. Web.

. 2013. Web.

Jolly David and Jack Ewing. , New York Times. 2013. Web.

Sawhney, Puja. 2008. Enabling Developing Countries to seize eco-label opportunities Market Information and Roadmap Package. Web.

. 2013. Web.

. 2013 GDP growth (annual %). Web.

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