France is one of the most important economic partners of Poland. Especially after Brexit. Polish economic ties with France have been developing very dynamically in recent years and we are not indifferent to the system of political forces in the country on the Seine.
The election result may be of great importance to Poland, not only politically but also economically.
Presidential elections are underway in France. The current president, Emmanuel Macron, is running for re-election, and his biggest rival is Marine Le Pen, a representative of the far-right.
It is this pair of candidates that, according to the polls, has the best chance of making it to the second round, although there are 12 candidates for the office of president.
France very important for Polish trade
The result of the elections in France may not be indifferent to Polish-French economic relations. France is one of Polands most important trading partners
According to the expert from the Polish Institute of International Studies, the possible victory of Marine Le Pen should not fundamentally affect the trade balance between France and Poland, but a politician known for her euroscepticism may defend access to the French market and will certainly promote domestic production
The French economy in 2021 grew by 7%, according to the data of the national statistical office Insee. This is more than predicted by the European Commission, which is mentioned by the Ministry of Development, Labour and Technology in the information available on the web on cooperation with France .
After a significant decline in GDP in 2020, mainly due to the pandemic, there has been a strong rebound. The improvement in the economic situation in France may also be beneficial for Poland. It is an opportunity to increase exports and strengthen cooperation, which is already developing dynamically.
France replaced Great Britain
According to GUS data, in 2020 France was the fourth largest sales market for Polish exports , but this situation began to change after Brexit and in the following year, after the UK left the European Union, France took a high, third position (right after Germany and the Czech Republic).
The share of France in Polish exports of goods in January-August 2021 was 5.8%. and was by 0.2 points. percent higher than in 2020 and by 0.3 points. percent higher than in 2015 – informs the Polish Economic Institute. In early 2021, it even briefly overtook the Czech Republic.
What do we export to France? According to the data of the Central Statistical Office for 2020, electrical devices come first, followed by: cars and car parts, computers, food products, rubber and plastic products, machines, furniture and chemicals.
Poland is becoming an increasingly important trading partner also for France. In the period January-August 2021, Poland’s share in French imports amounted to 2.4%. and it was close to 0.6 points. percent higher than in 2015.
The importance of Poland in French exports has also increased. In the analysed period, Poland was the tenth largest market for both French goods and a supplier to this market. In 2020, the balance of Poland-France trade (the difference between the total value of exports of goods and the value of imports – editor’s note) amounted to 5.5 billion PLN .
One of the most important investors in Poland
It is also worth noting that France is one of the most important direct investors in Poland. The value of invested capital at the end of 2020 amounted to 17.2 billion. French companies invest the most in trade and industry.
Retail chains from France are among the largest players in the sector, and companies from the automotive industry have been investing in production plants located in Poland for years.
The largest French investments in recent years in Poland include, for example, the PSA group van factory in Gliwice, where the production of approx. cars are to be launched annually in mid-2022. Its value is estimated at approx. 1.1 billion PLN .
The French are interested in cooperation in the field of modern technologies. Companies from the Seine area want to invest in Poland in energy, infrastructure and digital industry, renewable energy sources. They are also interested in agricultural waste management.
“Stable fiscal policy will be of key importance”
“Polish-French economic relations have been developing dynamically in recent years, in every sector – both in industry, services and trade.
After the presidential election in France, Poland will remain an attractive partner for French companies (it is one of the main investors in Poland)”, says Amanda Dziubińska, political scientist, French analyst in the Weimar Triangle Program, expert of the Polish Institute of International Studies told Business Insider.
“Investors do not announce changes in the business model in Poland. In the coming years, cooperation in strategic sectors based on high technologies will play a great role, and the Polish-French partnership may help revive the European economy.
The stable fiscal policy of both countries will be of key importance for the development of enterprises after the elections” adds the expert.
“Le Pen can defend access to the French market”
The outcome of the presidential elections in France may, however, cause some confusion on the market. Macron’s main rival is controversial by criticising France’s membership in NATO and the policy of sanctions against Russia.
Its potential win, according to analysts from the XTB brokerage house, may cause a crisis in NATO and prevent the consolidation of Western policy towards Russia.
As Gilles Finchelstein, a politician, intellectual and since 2000 director general of the Jean-Jures Foundation, said in an interview with dw.com, “Emmanuel Macron’s victory means stabilisation in the implementation of the current policy both in the French and European context. The success of Marine Le Pen is the great unknown on both of these planes.”
Can the victory of the right-wing candidate change anything in the mutual economic relations between France and Poland?
According to the expert of the Polish Institute of International Studies, Le Pen’s victory should not fundamentally change Polish-French economic relations, but its economic program differs from what the pro-European Macron represents.
“The economic program of Le Pen assumes the protection of French interests on the international market, especially against new free trade agreements and the import of products from third countries that do not meet high French and European production standards” says Amanda Dziubińska.
Le Pen can defend access to the French market and will certainly promote domestic production, which is reflected in its proposals for the agri-food industry.
This should not, however, affect the imbalance in the trade balance with Poland.France remains a large market with opportunities for further development of Polish business.
The leader of the National Union announces support for organic farming, and this is also one of the areas where French companies want to develop in Poland. Both candidates also propose reviving the nuclear sector, which may also be a potential area for further Polish-French cooperation.