Christine Lagarde, Minister for the Economy, Finance and Industry, and Bruno Le Maire, Minister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries, Rural Affairs and Town and Country Planning, have this morning chaired a meeting of the Attractiveness Strategy Council, bringing together 25 heads of foreign companies with a presence in France (representing more than €23 billion in turnover and 56,000 jobs in France); President Sarkozy concluded its work at the Elysée Palace.
Christine Lagarde gave a reminder of the major effort to open up the French market to foreign companies, whose sites in France account for more than two million jobs, 22% of research and more than a third of industrial exports.
Christine Lagarde and Bruno Le Maire welcomed a 2010 marked by a strong rebound following the plateau observed during the crisis: a 22% increase in the number of foreign investment decisions (782 in 2010, the highest figure for 15 years), which will enable 32,000 jobs to be created or safeguarded in France, a 6% progression from 2009. Christine Lagarde and Bruno Le Maire particularly highlighted several specific, formative investment projects.
Agrati (Italy) has taken over several of the company Acument’s screw and bolt production sites. €35 million of investment, 500 jobs safeguarded in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region and 150 in the Rhône-Alpes region.
Amazon.com (US) has decided to create a logistical centre in the Rhône-Alpes region: €35 million of investment and 500 new jobs.
The Entyrecycle Co. Ltd (UK) has decided to establish a unit for recycling and reusing used (pneumatic) materials, coupled with an R&D centre in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region: €25 million of investment and 240 jobs expected.
The discussions highlighted the participants’ agreement about the benefits, in the eyes of international investors, of our country’s regional diversity, industrial know-how and workforce and infrastructure quality. A broad consensus has emerged welcoming the R&D tax credit and the strengthening of competitiveness clusters.
The Ministers – who are eager to hear about the experiences of the chairmen of the groups established in France – insisted on the role of the reforms implemented and/or forthcoming in our country in modernizing the economy, boosting competitiveness, stimulating innovation and easing administrative burdens.
In this respect, Christine Lagarde outlined several measures aimed at making it easier to welcome foreign investment, particularly the establishment by the end of 2011 of a single tax information service for non-resident investors and a single desk at the French Office for Immigration and Integration (OFII) for issuing residence permits.
The work all led to a meeting involving President Sarkozy./.