France has a diverse, open and internationalized economy which, in 2007, was ranked as the eighth largest in the world. With a GDP of US$2.8 trillion, and a GDP per capita of US$46,000, the French economy sits comfortably above the EU27 and OECD averages (OECD, 2009). Since 1 January 2002, France uses the Euro single currency, and is second in size only to Germany in the 16-country Euro zone. France is home to multinational companies and prestigious products of worldwide renown, is the fourth world destination for foreign direct investment (FDI), and invests heavily abroad, in turn. It boasts an agricultural sector that makes France the second largest exporter of food stuffs and food products in the world after the USA, and is equally renowned for its industrial heritage. In particular, the French economy generates much high-tech activity and scientific know-how in the fields of transport (infrastructure and equipment), defence, aeronautics, aerospace, automotives, pharmaceuticals and nuclear energy. France’s industrial history is a matter of national pride, and the ongoing de-industrialization of the French economy is a political headache of the first order.
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