France Woos Chinese Investors by Hyping Labor Market Reforms
What’s new: Pascal Cagni, chairman of Business France, a French government agency that tries to attract foreign investment, wooed Chinese investors in an interview with Caixin by touting the country’s “substantially transformed” business environment.
Cagni’s efforts illustrate how France is trying to alter the traditional perception in China that the European country’s strict labor protections make it a tough place to do business. He said that Chinese investors’ perceptions of France’s business environment were “five years behind” the times. He added that they would “miss good opportunities” in France by choosing Germany and Britain as their top investment destinations in Europe.
The background: Cagni said that reforms undertaken by French President Emmanuel Macron in 2017 have been the driving force behind changes in the country’s labor market. Macron introduced a series of employer-friendly policies, including lowering requirements for employers to dismiss employees, setting limits on employee compensation, and allowing more flexible employment contracts.
In the wake of Britain’s departure from the European Union, France has for the first time overtaken Britain and Germany as the top foreign investment destination in Europe, according to a survey released in May by accounting firm Ernst & Young.
Of all Chinese investment in Europe, about 20% goes to Germany and 12% to Britain, Cagni said. Less than 10% ends up in France.
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