Export Knowhow

How to export machinery and precision tools to France

Symop* estimates that the demand for machine tools should increase by approximately 4% over the next few years. France is driven by a catch-up in its investments because of the economic difficulties in the Eurozone and the introduction of a measure of over-depreciation of 40% on investments of SMEs in technologies.

 Young engineer setup plasma cutter for work in metalwork workshop

Lathes are the leading segment in the French machine tool sector (34%), followed by machining centers. The automotive sector once again became the leading customer (28.2%), ahead of the aviation industry (24.7%) and the mechanical industry (24.1%). French companies expect an increase in production over the next few years.

Mechanical industries:

  • 11,000 companies with more than 10 employees
  • 132.2 billion euros in sales
  • 615,450 employees
  • 6th in the world

If you are interested in exporting to France, check out the following tips to make sure your business is set up for success right from the start:

1. Analyse the market

French customers want to remain competitive against a background of very aggressive international competition. Through their investments they target improvements in the quality of their products and greater production flexibility, accompanied by a reduction in manufacturing costs.

Depending on the type of customer or business segment, there are two types of demand: competitive machine prices and / or specific technical machines.

Business demand is deteriorating in the food, electronics and electrical equipment sectors. It remains well-oriented in mechanical industries, which are experiencing a growth in production. Other industry sectors are experiencing a slowdown in new orders.

Before selling machines abroad, it is important to provide efficient logistics to manage the setting-up, after-sales service, warranty and availability of spare parts. It is essential that you maintain a stock of readily available spare parts.

2. Make sure your products are compatible with European standards (CE Standard)

The supplier must provide all the product specifications, including detailed data sheets. The importer is responsible for ensuring imported machinery meets applicable standards. The Machinery Directive (DM) applies to machinery manufactured in the European Union or imported from outside. However, specific directives regulate certain types of electrical appliances. Some EU Member States also apply their own local regulations. A wide range of ISO standards has also been developed for specific machine types.

The agreement between the Swiss Confederation and the European Community on mutual recognition in relation to conformity assessment (MRA) entered into force on June 1, 2002 as one of the seven agreements concluded as part of a package known as the "Bilateral agreements I". The MRA is an instrument designed to remove technical barriers to the trade of industrial goods between Switzerland and the EU. It applies to the most important product sectors (such as machinery, medical devices, electrical equipment, construction products, lifts, and biocidal products). For most product sectors covered by the agreement, Swiss and EU technical regulations are equivalent.

3. Customs

Goods exported from Switzerland must be declared to the Federal Customs Administration (FCA) via a written form or online.

In order to use the applications and declare your goods, you must have all the information required to export your goods.You will find all the updated information on the Federal Customs Administration's website: Exportation from Switzerland

4. Attend tradeshows to meet with potential business partners

  • GLOBAL INDUSTRIE, which takes place alternately in Paris and Lyon, is the major event in France and Europe for production equipment and technologies.
  • Micronora is an international micro technology trade fair which takes place every two years in Besançon.
  • BE 4.0, Salon Industries du future, which takes place in Mulhouse, is the tri-national rendezvous for a successful transformation into the industry of the future.

*professional organization of creators of industrial solutions

Looking to export to France? We can support you

Would you like to explore your business opportunities within the French machinery and precision tool industry? Contact Beat Kuster today to discuss your export project. At Switzerland Global Enterprise, we offer you initial free country consultations, prepare more detailed market and competition analyses according to your needs, support you in your search for the right business partner, and inform you about legal regulations.


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