France is the world’s seventh largest economy and Europe’s third biggest market with 67 million consumers. With its central position in Europe, well-developed infrastructure and attractive establishment opportunities, many foreign investors are keen to invest in France.
Favourable investment climate
France’s highly developed infrastructure and favourable investment climate have long attracted significant foreign investment and continue to do so despite the economic downturn. Large investments are made in the high-tech industry and there is a large pool of highly skilled workers. It is also an important gateway and steppingstone to the French-speaking parts of the Caribbean and Africa.
exports on the rise
Sweden and France have been trading partners for hundreds of years. It started with Sweden’s export of timber and iron, which gave us textiles, wine and salt in return. Swedish exports have increased in the last few years, something that 400 Swedish companies have capitalised on by having an active presence in the country.
The legal framework
Today, Swedish companies that plan to develop a physical presence with local staff in France should be aware that the country has a legal framework with strong workers’ rights. Our Trade & Invest commissioner Annika Stål has advice on how to deal with this situation in the interview below.
How we can help
Business Sweden has been present in Paris, the world’s most visited city, since the late 1970s. Together with our staff based in our Swedish offices, we offer a full range of services for companies that want to grow sales on the French market. Our services include providing strategic advice, producing market analyses, helping you to get in touch with key stakeholders and suitable business partners, and much more.
Annika StålTrade & Invest Commissioner France
What are the main advantages for expansion in France?
The business climate in France is considered positive and this, in combination with nationwide reforms, promotes entrepreneurship and foreign investments. Highly qualified and productive manpower and a well-developed infrastructure are also considered advantages when doing business in the country. In addition, tax relief is offered to companies that conduct various forms of R&D activities. We see the most interesting opportunities for growth in banking, insurance, energy, automotive, agriculture, food, luxury products, healthcare and infrastructure.
What are the risks and challenges companies may face in France?
Doing business is no more challenging than in other European countries. However, we see a couple of areas where Swedish companies should pay attention. According to French law, workers are very protected, and it is therefore important for foreign companies planning to hire staff to their French operations to acquire knowledge of French labour law and practice. We also see that companies wishing to participate in public tenders face challenges and difficulties in reaching relevant decision makers. It is therefore important that these obtain well-established local partners or invest in their own local presence.
Are there any cultural aspects to consider?
French organisations are structured according to a formalised hierarchy and the culture is generally formal in terms of communication, attire, etc. French people enjoy and are good at negotiating and appreciate openness, discussion and argumentation. It is important to build and nourish relationships and networks, and to participate in social activities with business partners.