2019 France Attractiveness Scoreboard [fr]
The French economy supported by structural key strengths, a trend to create businesses as well as an evolution towards a carbon-free economy.
Paris, October 15, 2019 – Business France and the French Treasury Directorate are pleased to present the “2019 France Attractiveness Scoreboard,” published today as part of the “France des Solutions” forum.
The France Attractiveness Scoreboard, published for the 10th year in a row, brings together a wide array of economic data, compiled as indicators into the attractiveness of France, comparing its performances with 13 other countries.
Analysis of economic indicators highlights a number of the French economy’s key strengths, including:
I. Structural key strengths contributing to economic activity
a. France enjoys excellent connections to worldwide networks: high-quality airport infrastructures (Paris Charles de Gaulle, second airport for cargo transport after Frankfurt airport and second by passengers carried after London Heathrow); rail freight transport is also extensive (third among European countries in the sample, after Germany and Poland). The Rail Reform Act of June 28, 2018 contains a 10-year plan to overhaul the network.
b. Businesses set up in France enjoy high-quality telecommunications infrastructure, with the highest fixed broadband penetration rate among the countries in the sample and one of the highest wireless rates (ranked second). Launched in February 2013, the High-Speed Broadband France Plan aims to cover the entire country by 2022, by proposing high-speed internet access to all houses, businesses and government departments.
c. Digitalization of public services. Thanks to its modern and efficient e government services, France can now support private key players and individuals’ projects more easily. According to the United Nations E-Government Survey 2018, France is ranked ninth in the world for e-government (fifth in Europe), and fourth in our sample. France performs particularly well in online services, for which it is ranked second in the world. The digitalization of public services is an outstanding economic issue, for example the implementation on January 1, 2019 of deduction at source of income tax.
II. Evolving trend to create businesses, with a focus on industry:
a. The enterprise startup rate across the whole French economy was 10% in 2017, ranking France third after the United Kingdom and Poland. In manufacturing, this rate was 7.3%, with the rate having remained above 7% since 2009. Growth has been negative in German industry since 2013.
b. In the manufacturing industry, France had the lowest increase in unit labor costs of the entire sample in 2018 (+0.1%). In comparison, unit labor costs in the manufacturing industry grew by +3% in Germany and +2.3% among the EU-28.
c. France’s cost competitiveness in R&D activities has strengthened since 2008, with France offering the world’s most beneficial tax treatment for research and development expenditure by businesses. The research tax credit has lowered the cost to businesses of employing a researcher; along with associated grants, it reduces the cost of employing a researcher in France by 28%. R&D expenditure in France rose by 1.8% in 2018, the highest increase in recent years.
III. A willingness to go towards a carbon-free economy:
a. Electricity rates are especially attractive for companies operating in France, and are among the most competitive in Europe due to careful management of electricity generation and the national grid. The variability of electricity rates in France is also low, with variability of rates for 70,000 to 150,000 MWh of 0.3% in France, versus 0.9% in Germany and Ireland, 1% in Italy and 0.2% average for the EU.
b. Green growth also bears economic and job opportunities, especially in green energy. The most advanced countries in these sectors for the future are attracting foreign investors eager to position themselves in these fields. According to EurObserv’ER, France was Europe’s third-largest employer in the renewable energy sector in 2017, with 140,700 jobs (0.5% of its working population).
A number of government initiatives have been led in recent years, including the Climate Plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, or the 2015 Paris Agreement for an evolution towards sustainable development.
“Our country is improving on many of the main attractiveness factors, as seen from its progress in various international rankings. We have seen particular improvements in innovation, cost competitiveness and corporate finance. Lastly, France has been the leading European country for hosting industrial projects for over 15 years, which goes to show the government’s determination to strengthen French industry: in addition to the tax incentive for investments in robotization and digital transformation, the creation of 124 industrial regions and the ongoing simplification of administrative procedures, we have begun to develop a Pact for Full Employment, which aims to significantly increase the share of industry in our economy,” said Bruno Lemaire, Minister for the Economy and Finance.
“The action plans implemented by the government to strengthen the country’s structural key strengths and the choice, in the field of research and industry, to maintain the research tax credit or to win the industrialization race with the competitiveness and employment tax credit (CICE), along with the recent announcements from the National Council for Industry, have all helped to improve our ranking for a number of different fundamental criteria, ultimately making France more attractive,” said Christophe Lecourtier, CEO of Business France.
“The importance placed by the government on the low-carbon economy and technological innovation through events such as Make our Planet Great Again, the One Planet Summit and Tech for Good, which recently brought together 80 CEOs of major businesses from the global digital ecosystem to find innovative ways to protect the environment, indicates the way forward for the many startups that form part of our innovative economy,” said Pascal Cagni, Chairman of Business France and Ambassador for International Investment.
Business France is the national agency supporting the international development of the French economy, responsible for fostering export growth by French businesses, as well as promoting and facilitating international investment in France.
It promotes France’s companies, business image and nationwide attractiveness as an investment location, and also runs the VIE international internship program.
Business France has 1,500 personnel, both in France and in 58 countries throughout the world, who work with a network of partners.
Since January 2019, as part of the reform of the state support system for exports, Business France has given private partners responsibility for supporting French SMEs and mid-size companies in the following markets: Belgium, Hungary, Morocco, Norway, the Philippines and Singapore.
For further information, please visit: www.businessfrance.fr @businessfrance
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