France Attractiveness Scoreboard

Business France and the Treasury Department propose through this document a tool for decision support and an objective reading chart of the strengths and improvements of France.

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).

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