France - Country Commercial Guide
Market Challenges

Learn about barriers to market entry and local requirements, i.e., things to be aware of when entering the market for this country.

Last published date: 2021-03-04

Britain’s exit from the European Union (Brexit) last year may trigger some uncertainty for French and U.S. companies as they seek to understand how the departure will ultimately affect business interests and trade.  France has been moderately successful in attracting companies across multiple sectors to transfer operations from the United Kingdom to France, touting the country’s central location in Europe, high quality of life, and educated labor force.  Nevertheless, the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, especially the potential for trade disruptions and the movement of workers, is impacting business decision-making and may pose challenges for U.S. exporters.

U.S. firms must currently navigate national and European regulations and standards for selling products in France.  The French often interpret existing EU regulations more stringently than other Member states and regulate areas where the EU has not yet proposed legislation.

Another challenge for  U.S. firms is dealing with highly concentrated retail distribution chains and networks.  Many French global manufacturers and suppliers exercise strong control over these retail networks, with well-organized buying offices that have put in place very stringent selection processes for new suppliers, products and services.  High retail mark-ups combined with innovative and creative marketing approaches are prerequisites to entering the French retail market.