On the 21st of January, President Macron gathered 120 CEOs of foreign companies at the Chateau de Versailles to discuss the development of the country and its attractiveness for foreign investment. For 2019, foreign investments amount to €600 million, with a large proportion of it dedicated to R&D and industries.
In a rather authentic and traditional setting showing the past splendour of France, President Macron presented the current and future development of the country. This dichotomy indicated that despite its long and imposing history France does not rest on its laurel and is wide open to the future.
France climbing up world ranking
Since 2017, France has known an on-going progress regarding its competitiveness, as demonstrated by several global rankings. For example, from the 22nd rank of the Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum of Davos of 2017, France jumped to the 17th rank in 2018. This result is reflected by the opinion of foreign CEOs upon the French business environment. In an opinion poll, 88% of foreign CEO acknowledged France’s attractiveness for business, and 78% of foreign companies already settled in France think positively of their French experience.
Source: Business France
French is continuously improving its competitiveness
This growing progress can be explained by the numerous reforms engaged by the government. President Macron stressed on the current draft law, the PACTE. This law is designed for SMEs and strives to encourage innovation and facilitate entrepreneurship. For example, all the procedure to set up a new business would now be done on an online platform. Also, a greater connection between public researchers and private companies would be organised. Other reforms already introduced in 2018, such as the fiscal reform, have already eased the establishment of foreign investment in France. The fiscal pressure on companies have decreased notably thanks to the reduction of the corporate tax. This tax went from 33% to 28% for the first €500,000 of benefits in 2018. The aim is to gradually lower the rate to reach 25% in 2022. To give another proof of French commitment to welcome foreign investment, the summit was concluded by the signature of a Charter tightening the relationship between the state and the regions to ease the settlement of foreign companies.
Nordic companies continue to invest in France
This summit was of particular interest for Nordic companies. Several Nordic CEOs accepted the invitation of the French President. Their large presence at the summit was a mere reflection of the importance of their investment in France. Indeed, with over 1,120 companies in France, Nordic companies employ 154,500 persons across the country. These numbers are planned to go up as new investment projects are to be engaged in the coming months. For example, SKF, the Swedish company specialised in bearing and seal manufacture and services, has decided to invest in France €39 million to launch a new logistic platform and two new production lines (opening 2019).
In overall, foreign investments should reach €600 million in 2019. A high number of these are going to be made into R&D and industries.
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