The volume of foreign trade exchange between Muslim countries and France, which has recently insisted on its anti-Islam stance, exceeds $100 billion annually.
According to statistics and foreign trade data, the Muslim world holds significant weight in French foreign trade.
In 2019, the volume of French exports worldwide reached $555 billion, compared to $638 billion in imports, with a deficit of $88 billion.
Recently, popular calls to boycott French products intensified in Arab and Muslim countries, following the incident of displaying offensive cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on building facades in France, which was coupled with a harassment campaign against Muslim institutions in France.
Among the countries that joined the boycott campaign are Kuwait, Turkey, Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Iraq, in addition to many others.
Machines and aeronautical industries
Machinery export accounted for 12 per cent of the total value of France’s exports abroad, while exports of the aeronautical sector amounted to 9.6 per cent of the country’s overall exports.
The share of the rest of the sectors in the total value of French exports is divided as follows: 9.5 per cent for the transport sector, 7.8 per cent for the machinery and equipment sector, 6.4 per cent for the pharmaceutical sector, 3.8 per cent for the plastics industry, 3.6 per cent for the perfumes and cosmetics sector and 3.5 per cent for the beverages sector.
France’s imports of machinery and computers accounted for 13.1 per cent of the country’s total imports, while imports of the transport sector reached 11.5 per cent, fuel 10.3 per cent, equipment 8.9 per cent and medications 3.9 per cent.
Trade with Muslim countries
French exports to Muslim countries in 2019 amounted to around $45.8 billion, while its imports from those states amounted to $58 billion, with a deficit of $12.2 billion
Most of the Muslim states’ imports from France during that period consisted of machines, gas turbines, aeronautical products, automotive parts, cars, tractors, iron and steel, electronic and electrical equipment, as well as medicines.
On the other hand, the French authorities imported from Muslim countries in 2019 crude oil, natural gas, mineral oils, cars, automotive parts, TV receivers, electric heaters, cables, clothes, vegetables, fruits and nuts.
During the mentioned period, Turkey was the most significant importer of French goods among Muslim countries.
The value of French exports to Turkey amounted to $6.6 billion, divided between machinery, cars, automotive parts, tractors, iron and steel products, electrical and electronic equipment, medicines and defence industry products.
The value of French exports of machines, pipes, gas turbines, cars, electrical appliances and grains (such as wheat) to Algeria during 2019 was estimated at $5.5 billion.
Morocco imported from France turbo engines, pumps, machines, gas turbines, electrical circuits, automotive parts, aeronautical products, wheat and barley at a value of $5.3 billion.
Qatar also imported from France aeronautical products, electrical and electronic equipment, machines, iron and steel, cosmetics and precious stones at a value of $4.3 billion.
France’s exports of electrical equipment, mineral oils and plastics to Tunisia amounted to $3.74 billion during the same period.
France’s exports to Malaysia amounted to $1.68 billion, Senegal $1.2 billion, Nigeria $657 million, Lebanon $627 million, Kuwait $589 million, the Sultanate of Oman $474 million and Kazakhstan $474 million.
In 2019, France’s exports to Bahrain reached $471 million, Iraq $464 million, Pakistan $443 million, Iran $420 million, Mali $374 million, Bangladesh $295 million and Jordan $237 million.
Libya’s imports from France reached $210 million, Azerbaijan $160 million, Uzbekistan $150 million, Turkmenistan $112 million and Bosnia and Herzegovina $98 million.
Chad’s imports from France amounted to $97 million, Sudan $86 million, Syria $52 million, Kyrgyzstan $32 million and Afghanistan $26 million.
France’s imports from Turkey during 2019 amounted to around $9.8 billion, in automotive products, auto and engine parts, buses and mass transit means, tractors, gas turbines, refrigerators and freezers, as well as water pumps.
The French authorities also imported crude oil and mineral oils from Saudi Arabia, worth $7.5 billion, and bought cars, cables, electrical connection products, vegetables, fruits and clothes worth $6.3 billion from Morocco.
France also imported from Tunisia cables, telephones, TV receivers, measuring devices, and mineral oils worth $5 billion, along with natural gas, various oils, chemicals and fertilisers, worth $4.7 billion from Algeria.
The French state imported $4.4 billion worth of products from Nigeria, $3.55 billion from Kazakhstan, $3.3 billion from Bangladesh, $2.6 billion from Malaysia and $2.1 billion from Indonesia.
The United Arab Emirates exported to France products valued at $1.72 billion, Libya $1.6 billion, Pakistan $1 billion, Iraq $1 billion, Egypt $815 million, Qatar $760 million, Azerbaijan $713 million and Bahrain $285 million.
The value of Kuwait’s exports to France amounted to $240 million, Bosnia and Herzegovina $174 million, the Sultanate of Oman $117 million, Lebanon $69 million, Sudan $53 million, Iran $52 million and Jordan $29 million.
Cause of the crisis
The statements of French President Emmanuel Macron, which targeted Muslims and Muslim institutions, coincided with a wave of Islamophobic incidents taking place in several French cities.
Last week, offensive cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), previously published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, were displayed on the facades of government institutions in the cities of Montbray and Toulouse to pay tribute to a teacher who was beheaded last week in a Parisian suburb.
While Macron affirmed that he would not give up publishing the offensive cartoons, the French security forces intensified raids and repression campaigns against Muslim associations and civil society institutions in France.
On 19 October, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin announced that the ministry will close a mosque and several Muslim civil society institutions and associations, including the Collective Against Islamophobia in France.
Many Muslim countries joined a campaign to boycott French products, following the anti-Islam attack launched by France.