The rise of the emerging countries has transformed the geography of global trade. The major developed countries, France included, are seeking to win market share in these countries. By comparison with its main European partners, France needs to focus its efforts on certain regions where it lacks presence, e.g. emerging Asia, the oil producing countries, and Eastern Europe.
As far as market shares are concerned, France is performing poorly in comparison with its European partners (Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom) in distant markets: in the Near and Middle East, in major OECD countries excluding the European Union, and especially in emerging Asia. Conversely, France is relatively well placed in Western Europe, and in particular in the major markets represented by our neighbouring countries, our core export markets. However, its privileged position in these markets has been weakening since 2000. Outside Europe, France remains distinctly better placed than its partners in Africa, in North Africa especially.
The fast-growing economies are mainly located in emerging Asia, in the Near and Middle East, and in Eastern Europe. The only fast-growing countries in which France is well placed are the North African countries. France therefore needs to strengthen its position in the other high-growth regions.
The identification of lists of "target countries" (2003) and "pilot countries" (2005), as part of the government's trade promotion plans, seeks precisely to steer French exports towards these faster-growing regions by concentrating export subsidies on these countries.