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20 January 2020

Choose France: a summit for boosting France's economic appeal

The 3rd edition of the Choose France summit, held on 20 January 2020 at Versailles, particularly aimed at showcasing France's economic appeal and encouraging foreign investment in French local areas.
At a time when uncertainties over Brexit and US-China trade tensions are dominating the international scene, France's economic appeal is as strong as ever: 87% of business leaders see France as an attractive investment location (+13 points on 2016), and 82% of foreign businesses established in France view their investment in the country in a positive light (+4 points on last year).

This means that France is still ranked the second most attractive investment location behind Germany and ahead of the UK: it is cited by 38% of business leaders asked, versus 44% in favour of Germany and 30% in favour of the UK.

boosting France's economic appeal

In order to build on this positive momentum, the Government is continuing to explain and promote the reforms and changes in progress in France in a bid to encourage foreign businesses to invest even more in local areas.

Indeed, France's diverse regions – their assets, know-how and innovativeness – were in the spotlight of this year's Choose France summit, with a view to driving up regional investment. Île-de-France, Centre-Val de Loire, Normandie and Hauts-de-France have attracted the most investment in the local economic and industrial fabric, and this has been a key factor in their respective thriving labour catchment areas.

This momentum has been going strong for two and a half years: a census conducted by Business France, with input from regional economic departments and prefectures, identified the investments (international and French) planned or made in local areas since 2018, bringing new jobs with them.

Initiatives to facilitate and encourage foreign investment in France

  • Provision of so-called "turnkey" industrial sites. These are sites extending over 50 hectares, ready to accommodate industrial activities and for which the public authorities have already anticipated the environmental or urban planning administrative procedures: investors can therefore access them immediately or within a very short space of time.
  • Greater clarity and accessibility as regards corporate law in a bid to encourage the location of decision-making centres and registered offices.

Steps to raise the profile and appeal of La French Tech

  • Launch of the French Tech 120 programme, to support the rise of tech leaders nationwide.
  • Extension of the French Tech Visa to foreign startups based in France (for the record, one in two startups say they struggle to recruit. There are currently 80,000 job vacancies across the tech spectrum). A decree is expected to be enacted by the end of January along these lines.
  • The share warrants for business founders (BSPCE) scheme has been extended to foreign businesses. BSPCEs are primarily for employees and managers of startups. As the law currently stood, employees of foreign businesses' French subsidiaries were unable to benefit from this scheme.