Dynamic strategy in trade negotiations

Large companies play a key role in the globalisation of the French economy: they account for over 50% of French export and represent more than 75% of direct French investment abroad. This commitment by large companies to external markets is a boost to growth: external trade now represents 30% of gross domestic product. It also generates jobs:  one quarter of employees currently work for an export company.


In this context, the increasing openness of non-member countries’ markets to French companies is a major issue in terms of common European Union trade policy. Faced with the recurrent trends towards protectionism, the development of balanced free trade must remain a priority at European level. AFEP therefore lobbies for a dynamic strategy in trade negotiations with the European Union’s major partners, whether developed countries (Canada, Japan, United States) or emerging countries with a high growth potential (China, ANASE countries, Latin America). To guarantee undistorted competition with companies in non-member countries, AFEP supports the efforts of the European Union in concluding ambitious trade agreements, which also cover non-tariff obstacles such as unjustified divergences in technical standards or better protection of foreign investments. AFEP also promotes regulated globalisation, encouraging and protecting innovation through the dissemination of intellectual property regulations, and maintaining effective defensive instruments against abusive trade practices such as dumping or illegal subsidies.

AFEP therefore follows closely developments in international trade policy for its members, and is keen to disseminate its vision of international trade with its European and French contacts, maintaining a constructive dialogue with the EU and the French public authorities.

Marc PoulainDirector of International Trade Negotiations

Marc Poulain has been Director of International Trade Negotiations at AFEP since 1 September 2017. He monitors the main developments in European Union business policy and the Brexit process, representing AFEP’s positions in this area with the European and French public authorities.

A graduate of IEP Paris and the Ecole Nationale d’Administration, he began his career as a judge in the Paris administrative court, then as Deputy to the Chief of Staff for public procurement legislation at the Ministry of Economy and Finance. As a national expert seconded to the Directorate General for Trade of the European Commission between 2009 and 2016, he negotiated the “public tenders” chapters of the free trade agreements between the EU and Japan, Mercosur and the countries of the ANASE, and took part in the WTO negotiations in Geneva.

Marc Poulain
m.poulain@nullafep.com01 43 59 85 34


3 June 2019


In a context of increasing trade tensions and technological changes that deeply modify international trade, Afep made a survey on large French companies ‘ priorities for the update of the EU trade policy to be made at the beginning of the new European Parliament and Commission’s term.

18 March 2019

For an efficient mechanism for investor-state dispute settlement within the EU

AFEP and Deutsches Aktieninstitut are deeply concerned as to negative consequences arising from the judgement of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the Achmea case of 6 March 2018.

30 April 2018

Afep’s position on EU responses to US additional duties on imported steel and aluminium products.

French companies support the ongoing transatlantic dialogue with a view to avoiding a EU-US trade war. In the event safeguard measures would be taken, French companies invite the European Commission to take into account existing antidumping duties and to grant an exemption to steel and aluminium products imported from Turkey and the EEA countries. Potential rebalancing measures on US made products should minimise the negative impact for EU companies and be based on strictly economic reasoning.

29 June 2017

Afep’s position on the new antidumping methodology

Text concerned: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) No 2016/1036 on the protection against dumped imports from countries not members of the European Union and Regulation (EU) No 2016/1037 on protection against subsidized imports from countries not members of the European Union – COM (2016) 721 final Procedure: 2016/0351 (COD)

29 June 2017

Afep’s position on the multilateral investment court

This paper was prepared in the context of the public consultation from the European Commission aiming to gather views relating to the European Union’s policy on possible options for multilateral reform of investment dispute resolution, including the possible establishment of a permanent Multilateral Investment Court.