Exporting to France: A guide for small business owners

Exporting to France: A guide for small business owners

Posted: Wed 6th Mar 2024

With the second-largest economy in the EU, France is a major global market that's within easy reach of the UK. Boasting some of the world's best infrastructure, a vast and diverse consumer base and some of the biggest international trade shows, France has a wealth of opportunities for UK exporters.

If you're looking to take your small business into the French market, it's really important that you understand the challenges that come with selling in this new territory.

To help you make this step, we've put together a detailed guide that sets out what to think about when preparing to do business in France and how to make sure your exporting is successful.

Download now: Selling to customers in France – A guide for SMEs in the UK

What the guide contains

Selling to France: Main benefits and challenges

Get an overview of the main advantages your small business will find by exporting to France, including:

  • access to a larger market

  • the potential to significantly increase your sales and revenue

  • the opportunity to expand their customer base

At the same time, learn what common challenges you might encounter, such as the language barrier, some major differences in business practices and regulations, and potential cultural differences that may affect your business relationships.

Also read this section of the guide for detailed insight into France's tax system and customs regulations.

How Brexit has affected trade between the UK and France

In the guide, you'll also find details of the new trade rules between France and the UK as a result of Brexit. Discover how these new rules and regulations will influence how you sell your products to French customers.

Business culture in France

The French business culture is relatively indirect, formal and built around courtesy and etiquette. People in France are generally quite reserved and put a great deal of emphasis on developing personal relationships.

While France and the UK share some common history and culture, there are some key things you need to know. Read the guide for top tips on business etiquette, the best way to approach negotiations, and how to use the French greeting kiss.

Preparing to do business in France

Expanding your small business into the French market gives you a great opportunity to grow, diversify and increase your sales, revenue and profits. While France is a large and lucrative market, there are a few challenges to overcome first.

Before you think about exporting to France, make sure you're clear on why you're doing it. Find out why stepping back and properly analysing your export strategy will help make it more likely that your overseas trade is successful.

Getting your goods out of the UK

Exporting goods from the UK to France means planning carefully and following specific procedures.

In this section of the guide, you'll learn the various steps of the exporting process, such as getting an EORI number, securing an export licence (if necessary), determining the appropriate incoterms for your shipments and checking for trade barriers.

It also covers the crucial aspects of making a customs declaration and arranging for transportation.

Getting your goods into France

Successfully navigating French customs is crucial in making sure your goods enter the country without any issues.

This section of the guide explains what paperwork you'll need to complete, and what taxes and duties you'll pay (and to who).


Knowledge is power! Equip yourself with the right tools to conquer the French market. Download our guide tailored for UK small businesses.

Learn how to sell to customers in France

Knowledge is power! Equip yourself with the right tools to conquer the French market. Download our guide tailored for small businesses like yours

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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