14 Ekim 2011 Cuma

Invest in France, settle in France, diplomat says

Saturday, October 8, 2011
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News

France offers good opportunities for Turkish firms, a French envoy for foreign investments says. France prepares to include lessons in Turkish at Strasbourg schools to attract Turkish investors with their families

Turkish firms are invited to invest in France, particularly for ‘The Greater Paris’ project, a public transportation project where France will put in $32 billion, Appia says. Hürriyet photo.

The French government wants to see more Turkish businesses investing in the country, including in a $32 billion-infrastructure project in greater Paris, according to the French ambassador for international investments.

“We believe in the potential of Turkey,” David Appia told the Hürriyet Daily News in a recent interview. “Turkish companies are very successful in the international arena.”

“The investment trend is changing,” Appia said, implying a change in the one-way investment direction from developed economies to emerging ones as in the past.

The French government is also considering whether to launch Turkish-speaking sections at schools in Strasbourg by 2013 to support Turkish investment in the country.

Turkey is listed in a recent Invest in France Agency (IFA) document with other countries such as China and India. The idea behind providing classes in these foreign languages is to provide better living conditions for foreign investors and their families in the country.

More companies have begun to look at investment opportunities in France in recent years, Appia said. “We invite Turkish companies to invest in France.” Emphasizing that nearly 10 percent of the total foreign direct investments (FDI) to France last year came from BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – Appia said “the trend is favorable” in terms of investments from emerging countries.

Still, 65 percent of France’s, FDI comes from Central European countries.

“The imbalance is still there [in terms of] Turkish investments in France and French investment in Turkey,” said Appia, noting that only 40 Turkish firms were currently operating in the country while 400 French firms were operating in Turkey at the end of 2010.

More Turkish companies heading to France
“In the last eight years, there were only six Turkish firms directly investing in France, but by the end of the first half of this year, another six Turkish firms had directly invested in our country through joint ventures and acquisitions,” Appia said. “This shows the interests of the Turkish firms in France.”

Many Turkish firms from the agro-industry, services, real estate and tourism sectors are increasingly interested in investing in France, he said.

Each Turkish investment in France creates roughly 50 jobs, he said. “We aim to attract more investments through our recently founded IFA in Istanbul,” said Appia.

“We focus on investment creating jobs. Investors come for some French companies that are in financial difficulty and acquire the company and maintain the jobs,” said Appia, noting that there were over 20,000 foreign firms employing more than 2 million people in 2010. In 2008, nearly 2,000 foreign firms received France’s research tax credit, according to IFA documents.

Appia said “The Greater Paris” project represented an important opportunity for investment. France will invest more than $32 billion in public transport in the greater Paris region. On the Saclay Plateau, in the south of greater Paris, more than 2 billion euros have been earmarked to construct Europe’s largest scientific and technological campus by 2020.

“Turkish companies invest heavily in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, particularly Russia, Ukraine and Romania, [but] Western European countries also present a strong potential with extensive know how and a technological base with successful brands,” he said, noting that a French business delegation would meet with Turkish companies Oct. 13. Appia said stronger economic bonds between Turkey and France could also support Turkey’s bid to become a full member of the European Union in the future.

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