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Only 4 days to set up a company in France

Oct 19 2016 18:56
Carin Smith

Cape Town - The business environment in France is one where companies can flourish, according to Philip Geromont, a director in the corporate commercial section of attorneys firm ENSafrica.

"France is a very attractive investment area," he said at an "Invest in France" business meeting hosted by the French South African Chamber of Commerce, Business France, the French Consulate in Cape Town and the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Geromont said France has a secure legal environment for doing business - investors are protected. Furthermore, it is easy to set up a business in France, while residence and work permits are easily obtainable for company CEOs and intra-group transfers.

"And of course one should not forget the renowned quality of life and joie de vivre France offers," he concluded.

According to Xavier d'Argoeuves, consul of France in Cape Town, it can take just four days to set up a company in France.

"France is the 5th largest economy in the world, it has the 7th highest productivity in the world and, after all, entrepreneur is a French word," said D'Argoeuves.

William Roos, head of the regional economic department of Southern Africa at the Embassy of France in SA, explained that France has fully recovered from the global financial crisis and has a growth rate above the average for the eurozone.

"Corporate investment has a good rate in France at the moment. This shows the confidence of corporations in future projects," said Roos.

He said since unemployment is still high in France - just below 10% - which is well below the level of unemployment in SA - certain structural reforms have been implemented by the government. These are ensuring sustainability of public finances; improving business cost competitiveness; modernising the business environment and boosting investment; improving aspects in the labour market; and reducing social inequality, for instance, to help more young people to enter the business environment.

"Our labour market reforms are delivering lower labour costs and a more business friendly legal environment. Reform is brought about by social dialogue. This is evident from the decrease in labour disputes," said Roos.

"There are some sectors where South Africa's fellow Brics countries have already invested in France. SA could, therefore, also find opportunities in these sectors. These include ICT manufacturing; the chemical industry; the steel industry; hotels; drugs production and more."

Clément Sarradin, project manager for inward investment from southern and eastern Africa at Business France, told delegates that France attracts the 7th largest amount of inward foreign direct investment stocks in the world. In top of that the country gets about 85 million tourists a year.

READ: France can teach SA a thing or two about tourism

"France also has a strategic location to develop business in Africa - especially in French speaking African countries," said Sarradin.

"France is not just about good infrastructure, but also about being an innovative economy with a booming ecosystem. There are about 1 500 new start-ups per year just in Paris and a huge incubator is planned there for 2017. On top of that, the same amount of money is spent on research and development in Grand Paris than in Silicon Valley."

Sid Peimer, executive director of the Cape Chamber, said there were some very persuasive reasons shown at the Invest in France business event.

"With doors closing due to Brexit, we have to look at France for expansion in the wider Europe," said Peimer. "I also urge French companies to look at opportunities in Cape Town and South Africa."

Lastly, Elisabeth Barbier, ambassador of France in SA, pointed out France ranks 3rd in the world for the number of innovative companies.

"We want to strengthen economic ties between SA and France and between South African and French companies," she said.

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france  |  world economy  |  business


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