Fleur PELLERIN s'adresse à la communauté d’affaires franco-coréenne

Fleur PELLERIN, en déplacement en Corée du Sud, s'est adressée à la communauté d’affaires franco-coréenne en insistant sur les partenariats possibles entre les deux pays et sur le rôle prépondérant des PME & PMI.

Madame Fleur PELLERIN, Ministre déléguée aux Petites et Moyennes entreprises, à l’Innovation et à l’Economie numérique s’est adressée le lundi 25 mars 2013 à la communauté d’affaires franco-coréenne lors d’un Déjeuner-Forum organisé par la FKCCI. Ce déjeuner fut également l’occasion pour la FKCCI de nouer un partenariat stratégique avec KBIZ, la Fédération Coréenne des Petites et Moyennes Entreprises, en présence de son Chairman Monsieur Ki-Mun KIM.

Durant son discours, la Ministre française a notamment insisté sur les partenariats possibles entre les deux pays, sur le rôle prépondérant des PME & PMI dans le développement économique, et a assuré les entrepreneurs du soutien du Gouvernement français dans l’aide à l’implantation et au développement des entreprises française en France comme à l’étranger. “N’oubliez pas que le mot Entrepreneur est un mot français” a t’elle souligné.

Retrouvez toutes les photos de l’évènement sur notre compte Flickr, ainsi que tous les reportages-vidéo diffusés sur les médias coréens: YTNMBNNEWS YBiz Chosun , KTV . Retrouvez également à suivre le discours prononcé par la Ministre.

Speech delivered by Fleur PELLERIN, Minister Delegate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Innovation and the Digital Economy, attached to the Minister for Production Recovery

(FKCCI luncheon, Monday 25 March 2013)


I would like to start off by thanking the Chamber of Commerce for the organization of this great event. I know how active the Chamber of Commerce has been to promote economic ties between French and Korean businesses, with its 200 members, the services it offers and information it delivers. It is a pleasure to be able to see firsthand this dynamism by speaking with you today.

The Chamber’s role is especially important for small and medium size businesses. It is SMEs that need assistance the most when they wish to expand and develop their activity, even more so internationally. They have fewer resources, and it is harder for them to access a new market, to build a network by themselves.

Which is why I am delighted by the partnership that the Chamber is signing today with KBiz. I am sure it will provide new relationships and opportunities for SMEs that need them. Let me thank M Kim Ki-Moon, president of KBiz for his part in achieving this partnership.

It is crucial that we find ways to support SMEs because they constitute the backbone of our economies. Most often, it is these companies that foster the innovations that transform our economy and our society. It is also these companies that hold the most potential for job creation.

Today, French SMEs struggle to become bigger companies. Also, too few are active outside of France. They account for only 44% of total exports. I have brought with me on this trip 24 innovative SMEs that are here today, all of which have been selected for their high potential. They have come to showcase their solutions to Korean clients and partners. International expansion is a key goal to help our companies, and both the Chamber of Commerce’s activity and this partnership show that there are solutions to be offered to businesses.

But we know that to strengthen SMEs and help them acquire the means to develop, a strong commitment by the Government is crucial. And I’m very happy to have the opportunity to discuss with you today the major reforms we are currently undertaking in France to boost our economy in general, our SMEs, and attract foreign companies and investors.

I have been asked by the Prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, to act as an ambassador for attracting foreign investments in France. The Government announced recently a series of bold measures to boost the competitiveness of our economy. Through this Pact for growth, competitiveness and employment, we are sending a message for all of those who want to invest in France. To explain our actions, I have programmed a series of international travels, and naturally Korea was a priority.

It was especially important to come here to Korea to have this discussion because Korea and France have very deep commercial ties. Our bilateral trade is thriving. Korea is one of our main partners in Asia, avec France is Korea’s second provider of goods and services from Europe.

More than 250 French companies are operating in Korea, in very diverse areas such as banking, food, transportation, chemistry or aeronautics. Those fast-growing business ties translate into a young, highly qualified and energetic French community in Korea, which has doubled in the last ten years.

Korean companies are also active in France, with such examples as STX Corporation recently acquiring the Saint-Nazaire shipping yards, Samsung acquiring this year a new R&D center in the south of France or renowned companies such as Amore Pacific and LG Electronics developing a significant workforce in France.

It is clear that both our countries share many assets and priorities, for instance in areas such as innovation and the digital field, where Korea has been one of the most successful countries in the world. Our focus is the same on theses issues.

So this partnership has proved very fruitful, both for Korea and for France. And we wish to develop it even more. I am convinced we have much to learn from Korea and to benefit from its dynamism.

And I am sure that the free trade agreement between the European Union and Korea, which has been in force since 2011, will provide new opportunities for strengthening our bilateral relations. We have already seen its first positive results.

It is a key time in our economic partnership. The conditions are now in place to develop the special bond that two countries that are so close and complementary should have. Considering our common interests, there is no good reason why Korean companies invest more today in Germany than in France. My goal is to make France the first economic partner of Korea in Europe, and for us to considerably increase our bilateral trade. It is the right time to set this goal. It is ambitious but I know we can achieve it.

But, to achieve this, a first step is to improve our knowledge of each other’s business environment. I think my goal is twofold today : to present to you our determination to enhance competitiveness in France, but also to dispel a few clichés about my country.

I know some of you believe France is a great destination for tourism, for its cafés, its lunches, its tradition and museums. But less so that it is one of the best places in the world to develop a business.

Let me present to you a few facts and figure that illustrate this point.

France is a leading destination for talent and investment. It is one of the most open countries for foreign investment in Europe.  We are the first recipient in the EU for foreign investment in industry. Per dollar of GDP, France has almost two times as much FDI as Germany or Italy. And more than 20 000 foreign companies are based in France. Nearly one out of seven employees works for a subsidiary of a foreign company.

The reason why so many companies come to France is that we can offer a business friendly environment. We have one of the highest productivities in Europe and our innovation capacity is one the best – our companies hold the 2nd most international patents in Europe.

Despite this favourable situation, the Government is convinced we need to do more to foster competitiveness. Today, we are facing a tough challenge: we have to stimulate growth and employment in a difficult economic environment in Europe.

Which is why Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announced in November 2012 the Pact for Growth, competitiveness and employment, the purpose of which is to provide businesses operating in France with the tools to develop themselves and to thrive internationally and to boost the French economy’s attractiveness.

There are 35 measures in the Pact, so it’s best if I don’t describe each one individually. But  let me just mention a few measures that stand out :

The first one is a 20 billion annual reduction in labour costs to encourage investments and create jobs, through a tax credit for businesses. It is a massive and unprecedented measure. Every company is eligible and can benefit from very significant tax cuts.

The creation of a Public Investment Bank with considerable resources of 42 billion euros will offer companies a wide array of financial instruments and advice to support them at every stage of their growth. With a loan and loan guarantees capacity of 32 billion and 10 billion for equity, it will be a major asset to help businesses get started and develop.

To make these measures work, we have listened to the business communities chief concern and put in place a plan to reduce and simplify administrative procedures. This means a one-stop only policy for administrative processes, shorter procedures, better information. It also means shorter review periods for major international investment projects.

This Pact is not the only way we’ve acted to boost the French economy’s competitiveness. Among other decisions, we have managed to secure an agreement with the unions of both employers and employees for an ambitious reform of the labour market. It will enhance the flexibility of the French economy by allowing firm to adjust wages and working hours, on a temporary basis when difficult economic times so require. It will enhance security and predictability for firms and employees.

I myself have made the issue of competitiveness and attractiveness a key focus of my role within the Government.

Innovation and the digital sector are at the forefront of our efforts for competitiveness. This is why some of the most ambitious measures of the Government have been taken in this field.

The first one is to give access to every citizen to very high speed internet access through fibre-optic broadband in the next ten years. It is a critical challenge for our economy, and for our society – because the digital divide will become an insurmountable handicap from those who are left behind. The President announced a week ago the details of this 20 billion euro initiative, which will be funded both by public authorities and operators.

The second one is to reinforce the best research tax credit in Europe, which allows companies to benefit from a 30% tax rebate for R&D expenses up to 100 million euros, and 5% after that. Studies show it is the most generous program of its kind internationally, and its simplicity has drawn praise from businesses.

We have reinforced it in two ways :

- by extending it to innovation expenses for SMEs, because we believe that support for R&D is not enough to help commercial success ;

- by pledging to stabilize it for the next five years despite the tough economic situation. Because we know that sometimes, it is what the government doesn’t do that helps businesses the most.

I’ve also launched two major projects in which attracting foreign talents is a key component.

The first is to transform Paris into a renowned digital capital and to attract foreign investors and entrepreneurs eager to take advantage of its effervescence. In France today, there are many young and promising companies, many excellent teams in research labs, large companies or universities.  The effervescence of our digital field will be showcased during the franco-korean seminar organized by the Chamber of Commerce in May in Paris.

Despite this dynamism, our companies face a problem: they are scattered all over our territory, and can not take advantage of the benefits of the proximity with potential partners, clients and resources.

It’s all about talent, talent hubs and talent meet-ups. This is why the French government will lay the foundation for a dynamic high tech-centric area or neighbourhood in Paris. To set it up and make it work, we will dedicate public property to private initiatives, relocation of businesses and shared working and events facilities, we will encourage research labs and universities to join in, and we will set up key infrastructure and amenities for arriving companies. We will work on the same basis for other areas in France where there is a vibrant community in digital.

The second is the organisation of a National Consultation on Entrepreneurship. Since January, several hundred entrepreneurs and all public and private stakeholders of the business-creation field will discuss the state of entrepreneurship in France and the ways to support business-creation in France and to make the country a the friendliest it can be for foreign entrepreneurs. It is my goal that, through this process, everybody will be reminded that entrepreneur is a French word.

So you see, the Government has pledged to make France the most dynamic an favorable business environment it can be. Our goal is to create a framework where companies, both French and foreign, will thrive and give the economy the boost it needs to return on a path of long term growth

I am convinced that this will result is closer ties with dynamic areas such as Korea, and hope that all of you take advantage of this new momentum.

France and Korea share a close relationship, and have so much in common. This mutual confidence and friendship can become even stronger tomorrow. It is my most fervent wish and I will act tirelessly to strengthen the ties between France and Korea, a country with which I have a special connection.

Thank you very much.

French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Stella Yoon
Commercial & International Cooperation Director
Tel : (0082) 2 2268 9504 – (0082) 10 9162 1877
@ : s.yoon(at)fkcci.com

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