WHY IS FRANCE IMPORTANT FOR MINNESOTA
Minneapolis (MN), le 8 février 2011. Discours prononcé par le Consul général de France à l’occasion du workshop "Doing business in France" intitulé "Why is France important for Minnesota ?"
Minneapolis (MN), February 8, 2011. Keynote speech given by the Consul General of France entitled "Why is France important for Minnesota ?" on the occasion of a workshop on "Doing business in France."
Why is France important for Minnesota
(Workshop on “doing business in France”
Minneapolis February 8, 2011)
I would like to thank Invest in France, the French-American Chamber of Commerce of Minneapolis/St Paul and the Minnesota Trade office for organizing this workshop on doing business in France. This event is part of the Year of France which will be celebrated throughout 2011 in Minnesota and a sort of introduction for the Minnesota International Center symposium which will take place on May 12.
The questions that are concerning us today is why is France important from an economic perspective ? Why are major Minnesota-based companies like Medtronics, 3 M, Cargill, Carlson, General Mills and many others doing business in France or with France ?
I. France’s economic assets
Mr Philippe Yvergniaux, President of Invest in France Agency, North America will elaborate on those aspects, but I think it would be useful to stress that France is not only the first tourist destination in the world (75 M.), it is also a major economy offering a lot of opportunities for business.
- France is the 5th largest economy in the world and the second largest in Europe. It is also the world’s second largest agricultural producer after the US.
- France, with a growing population of 64.3 million inhabitants, is the second largest consumer market in Europe. It is a country with top infrastructures for instance in the areas of transportation (highways and high speed train) and -energy (nuclear plants supply 77 % of French electricity).
- France is an open economy with a global outlook. Foreign companies in France account for over 40 % of French exports and over 20 % of R&D spendings.
- France is a “scientific country” home of some of the best mathematics and engineering schools in the world. Many well-established cooperation programs exist between French and US universities and research institutions.
- After the US and China, France is the world’s third largest recipient of Foreign Direct Investment. The US is the first foreign investor in France and the first destination of French investments.
- There are no less than 4,200 US companies established in France generating 770,000 jobs. On the other hand, 3,800 French companies are operating in the US, creating 550,000 jobs, around 90,000 in the Midwest alone.
- The USA is France’s largest trading partner outside of the EU. More than 1.2 billion $ in commercial transactions including those of US and French foreign affiliates take place every day.
II. France is a major Gateway for the US in the EU.
One of the main reasons for high numbers of US foreign direct investments in France is its unique position as a gateway to the EU, the world’s single largest market. The EU represents 43 % of world import and 41 % of world export. (North America : 17 % of world import, 13 % of world export).
France has the second largest population and economy in the EU. As _ one of its founders along with Germany, they are considered Europe’s main engine.
France offers rapid connections throughout Europe and some of the most cost effective locations in this vast market (ex : the choice made by General Mills to set up a Häagen Dazs factory in Arras).
I know that today, China’s spectacular economic development offers a lot of business opportunities, but the transatlantic relations remain the anchor of the world economy. The US and Europe represent together more than 50 % of the world’s GDP. The US foreign direct investment in Europe is, in stocks, 40 times larger than in China and our trade is about 4 trillion, 4 and 12 zeros… per year. In 2009, the European market was more than three times the size of the one of China for the US exports
Let me conclude by saying that the transatlantic link is not only economic but it is also deeply rooted in our common history, cultural heritage and robust democratic values. We share the same vision of our futures, which are closely connected. As President Obama properly stated “America can’t meet our global challenges alone, nor can Europe meet them without America”. That is why Europe and France, a major ally, partner and Friend of America, remain so important for the US.