France vs. Switzerland


Economy - overview

The French economy is diversified across all sectors. The government has partially or fully privatized many large companies, including Air France, France Telecom, Renault, and Thales. However, the government maintains a strong presence in some sectors, particularly power, public transport, and defense industries. France is the most visited country in the world with 89 million foreign tourists in 2017. France's leaders remain committed to a capitalism in which they maintain social equity by means of laws, tax policies, and social spending that mitigate economic inequality.

France's real GDP grew by 1.9% in 2017, up from 1.2% the year before. The unemployment rate (including overseas territories) increased from 7.8% in 2008 to 10.2% in 2015, before falling to 9.0% in 2017. Youth unemployment in metropolitan France decreased from 24.6% in the fourth quarter of 2014 to 20.6% in the fourth quarter of 2017.

France's public finances have historically been strained by high spending and low growth. In 2017, the budget deficit improved to 2.7% of GDP, bringing it in compliance with the EU-mandated 3% deficit target. Meanwhile, France's public debt rose from 89.5% of GDP in 2012 to 97% in 2017.

Since entering office in May 2017, President Emmanuel MACRON launched a series of economic reforms to improve competitiveness and boost economic growth. President MACRON campaigned on reforming France's labor code and in late 2017 implemented a range of reforms to increase flexibility in the labor market by making it easier for firms to hire and fire and simplifying negotiations between employers and employees. In addition to labor reforms, President MACRON's 2018 budget cuts public spending, taxes, and social security contributions to spur private investment and increase purchasing power. The government plans to gradually reduce corporate tax rate for businesses from 33.3% to 25% by 2022.

Switzerland, a country that espouses neutrality, is a prosperous and modern market economy with low unemployment, a highly skilled labor force, and a per capita GDP among the highest in the world. Switzerland's economy benefits from a highly developed service sector, led by financial services, and a manufacturing industry that specializes in high-technology, knowledge-based production. Its economic and political stability, transparent legal system, exceptional infrastructure, efficient capital markets, and low corporate tax rates also make Switzerland one of the world's most competitive economies.

The Swiss have brought their economic practices largely into conformity with the EU's to gain access to the Union's Single Market and enhance the country's international competitiveness. Some trade protectionism remains, however, particularly for its small agricultural sector. The fate of the Swiss economy is tightly linked to that of its neighbors in the euro zone, which purchases half of Swiss exports. The global financial crisis of 2008 and resulting economic downturn in 2009 stalled demand for Swiss exports and put Switzerland into a recession. During this period, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) implemented a zero-interest rate policy to boost the economy, as well as to prevent appreciation of the franc, and Switzerland's economy began to recover in 2010.

The sovereign debt crises unfolding in neighboring euro-zone countries, however, coupled with economic instability in Russia and other Eastern European economies drove up demand for the Swiss franc by investors seeking a safehaven currency. In January 2015, the SNB abandoned the Swiss franc's peg to the euro, roiling global currency markets and making active SNB intervention a necessary hallmark of present-day Swiss monetary policy. The independent SNB has upheld its zero interest rate policy and conducted major market interventions to prevent further appreciation of the Swiss franc, but parliamentarians have urged it to do more to weaken the currency. The franc's strength has made Swiss exports less competitive and weakened the country's growth outlook; GDP growth fell below 2% per year from 2011 through 2017.

In recent years, Switzerland has responded to increasing pressure from neighboring countries and trading partners to reform its banking secrecy laws, by agreeing to conform to OECD regulations on administrative assistance in tax matters, including tax evasion. The Swiss Government has also renegotiated its double taxation agreements with numerous countries, including the US, to incorporate OECD standards.

GDP (purchasing power parity)$3,097,061,000,000 (2019 est.)

$3,051,034,000,000 (2018 est.)

$2,997,296,000,000 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars
$588.472 billion (2019 est.)

$583.056 billion (2018 est.)

$567.448 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars
GDP - real growth rate1.49% (2019 est.)

1.81% (2018 est.)

2.42% (2017 est.)
1.11% (2019 est.)

3.04% (2018 est.)

1.65% (2017 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$46,184 (2019 est.)

$45,561 (2018 est.)

$44,827 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars
$68,628 (2019 est.)

$68,479 (2018 est.)

$67,139 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 1.7% (2017 est.)

industry: 19.5% (2017 est.)

services: 78.8% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 0.7% (2017 est.)

industry: 25.6% (2017 est.)

services: 73.7% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line13.6% (2018 est.)16% (2018 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 3.6%

highest 10%: 25.4% (2013)
lowest 10%: 7.5%

highest 10%: 19% (2007)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)1.1% (2019 est.)

1.8% (2018 est.)

1% (2017 est.)
0.3% (2019 est.)

0.9% (2018 est.)

0.5% (2017 est.)
Labor force27.742 million (2020 est.)5.067 million (2020 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 2.8% (2016 est.)

industry: 20% (2016 est.)

services: 77.2% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 3.3%

industry: 19.8%

services: 76.9% (2015)
Unemployment rate8.12% (2019 est.)

8.69% (2018 est.)

note: includes overseas territories
2.31% (2019 est.)

2.55% (2018 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index31.6 (2017 est.)

29.2 (2015)
32.7 (2017 est.)

33.1 (1992)
Budgetrevenues: 1.392 trillion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 1.459 trillion (2017 est.)
revenues: 242.1 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 234.4 billion (2017 est.)

note: includes federal, cantonal, and municipal budgets
Industriesmachinery, chemicals, automobiles, metallurgy, aircraft, electronics; textiles, food processing; tourismmachinery, chemicals, watches, textiles, precision instruments, tourism, banking, insurance, pharmaceuticals
Industrial production growth rate2% (2017 est.)3.4% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - productswheat, sugar beet, milk, barley, maize, potatoes, grapes, rapeseed, pork, applesmilk, sugar beet, wheat, potatoes, pork, barley, apples, maize, beef, grapes
Exports$969.077 billion (2019 est.)

$952.316 billion (2018 est.)

$910.613 billion (2017 est.)
$443.997 billion (2019 est.)

$444.605 billion (2018 est.)

$430.129 billion (2017 est.)

note: trade data exclude trade with Switzerland
Exports - commoditiesaircraft, packaged medicines, cars and vehicle parts, gas turbines, wine (2019)gold, packaged medicines, medical cultures/vaccines, watches, jewelry (2019)
Exports - partnersGermany 14%, United States 8%, Italy 7%, Spain 7%, Belgium 7%, United Kingdom 7% (2019)Germany 16%, United States 14%, United Kingdom 8%, China 7%, France 6%, India 6%, Italy 5% (2019)
Imports$1,021,633,000,000 (2019 est.)

$995.937 billion (2018 est.)

$965.949 billion (2017 est.)
$344.477 billion (2019 est.)

$344.557 billion (2018 est.)

$343.367 billion (2017 est.)
Imports - commoditiescars, crude petroleum, refined petroleum, packaged medicines, aircraft machinery (2019)gold, packaged medicines, jewelry, cars, medical cultures/vaccines (2019)
Imports - partnersGermany 18%, Belgium 9%, Italy 9%, Spain 7%, China 7%, Netherlands 6%, United Kingdom 5% (2019)Germany 21%, Italy 8%, United States 6%, France 6%, United Kingdom 5%, United Arab Emirates 5% (2019)
Debt - external$6,356,459,000,000 (2019 est.)

$6,058,438,000,000 (2018 est.)
$1,909,446,000,000 (2019 est.)

$1,930,819,000,000 (2018 est.)
Exchange rateseuros (EUR) per US dollar -

0.82771 (2020 est.)

0.90338 (2019 est.)

0.87789 (2018 est.)

0.885 (2014 est.)

0.7634 (2013 est.)
Swiss francs (CHF) per US dollar -

0.88995 (2020 est.)

0.98835 (2019 est.)

0.99195 (2018 est.)

0.9627 (2014 est.)

0.9152 (2013 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar yearcalendar year
Public debt96.8% of GDP (2017 est.)

96.6% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: data cover general government debt and include debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intragovernmental debt; intragovernmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions
41.8% of GDP (2017 est.)

41.8% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: general government gross debt; gross debt consists of all liabilities that require payment or payments of interest and/or principal by the debtor to the creditor at a date or dates in the future; includes debt liabilities in the form of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), currency and deposits, debt securities, loans, insurance, pensions and standardized guarantee schemes, and other accounts payable; all liabilities in the GFSM (Government Financial Systems Manual) 2001 system are debt, except for equity and investment fund shares and financial derivatives and employee stock options
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$156.4 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$138.2 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$811.2 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$679.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Current Account Balance-$18.102 billion (2019 est.)

-$16.02 billion (2018 est.)
$79.937 billion (2019 est.)

$63.273 billion (2018 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$2,715,574,000,000 (2019 est.)$731.502 billion (2019 est.)
Credit ratingsFitch rating: AA (2014)

Moody's rating: Aa2 (2015)

Standard & Poors rating: AA (2013)
Fitch rating: AAA (2000)

Moody's rating: Aaa (1982)

Standard & Poors rating: AAA (1988)
Ease of Doing Business Index scoresOverall score: 76.8 (2020)

Starting a Business score: 93.1 (2020)

Trading score: 100 (2020)

Enforcement score: 73.5 (2020)
Overall score: 76.6 (2020)

Starting a Business score: 88.4 (2020)

Trading score: 96.1 (2020)

Enforcement score: 64.1 (2020)
Taxes and other revenues53.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)35.7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-2.6% (of GDP) (2017 est.)1.1% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 19.6%

male: 20.8%

female: 18.2% (2019 est.)
total: 8%

male: 8.8%

female: 7.2% (2019 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 54.1% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 23.6% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 22.5% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.9% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 30.9% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -32% (2017 est.)
household consumption: 53.7% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 12% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 24.5% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: -1.4% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 65.1% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -54% (2017 est.)
Gross national saving23.4% of GDP (2019 est.)

23.1% of GDP (2018 est.)

22.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
35.3% of GDP (2019 est.)

33.8% of GDP (2018 est.)

30.6% of GDP (2017 est.)

Source: CIA Factbook