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In this page: FDI in Figures | Why You Should Choose to Invest in France | Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment | Investment Opportunities


FDI in Figures

According to the World Investment Report for 2013 published by the UNCTAD, France is the 16th largest recipient of FDI in the world, it went down five places in relation to 2012. Paris is the world's second largest city, after Tokyo, in terms of location of the headquarters of multinationals; currently, the city hosts nearly 500 of them. The country recorded a decline in foreign investment due to the deteriorating international economic situation in 2009/2010, but since then, the flows have been slowly recovering. However, according to the records provided by the UNCTAD, FDI were reduced by 77% in 2013 while they were increasing in other developed countries. France went down three places in the classification Doing Business 2014 issued by the World Bank (it ranks 38 out of 189 countries).

The country's strengths include: its position as the fifth world's largest power, its highly-skilled workforce, its large industrial base, its agricultural resources and its geographic location in the center of Europe.


Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors

  France OECD United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 10.0 6.0 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 1.0 5.0 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 7.0 9.0 5.0
Index of Investor Protection**** 5.3 6.1 8.3 5.0

Source: Doing Business - Last Available Data.

Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action. **** The Greater the Index, the Higher the Level of Investor Protection.

Foreign Direct Investment 201120122013
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 38,54725,0864,875
FDI Stock (million USD) 973,0691,029,8341,081,497
Performance Index*, Ranking on 181 Economies 77--
Potential Index**, Ranking on 177 Economies 11--
Number of Greenfield Investments*** 331304412
FDI Inwards (in % of GFCF****)
FDI Stock (in % of GDP) 34.939.439.5

Source: UNCTAD - Last Available Data.

Note: * The UNCTAD Inward FDI Performance Index is Based on a Ratio of the Country's Share in Global FDI Inflows and its Share in Global GDP. ** The UNCTAD Inward FDI Potential Index is Based on 12 Economic and Structural Variables Such as GDP, Foreign Trade, FDI, Infrastructures, Energy Use, R&D, Education, Country Risk. *** Green Field Investments Are a Form of Foreign Direct Investment Where a Parent Company Starts a New Venture in a Foreign Country By Constructing New Operational Facilities From the Ground Up. **** Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) Measures the Value of Additions to Fixed Assets Purchased By Business, Government and Households Less Disposals of Fixed Assets Sold Off or Scrapped.

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Why You Should Choose to Invest in France

Strong Points
France is one of the world's ten economic powers, and is strategically located in the center of Europe. It is an innovative country with a highly developed tertiary fabric. It has quality infrastructure, substancial agricultural resources and a large industrial base. The workforce is qualified and productive (second in Europe in terms of hourly productivity). The business environment is conducive to investment, and the legal environment is relatively transparent and stable.
Weak Points
The drawbacks of the French market: one of the highest taxation rates in the world, significant manpower costs, and low competitiveness in some sectors which can hinder economies of scale. Research suffers from insufficient collaboration between the public and private sectors. Recently, low economic growth, lack of predictability in economic and budget policy and increased complexity of the tax and labour regimes are possible barriers to investment.
Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI
Foreign companies enjoy the same government aid as French companies (aid for productive investment, R&D, professional training, job creation, etc.). The number of administrative formalities for foreign companies to settle in France has been reduced.

To fight against the financial crisis, the French government has implemented different measures: The implementation of a EUR 20 billion corporate tax credit program (crédit d’impôt compétitivité emploi), and the elimination of a corporate social solidarity tax to attract investors; the creation of a research tax credit (crédit impôt recherche) and tax incentives for innovative new companies (jeune entreprise innovante); and the creation of new labour laws which strengthen vocational training and add elements of flexibility to the French labour market.

Bilateral Investment Conventions Signed By France
France has signed bilateral agreements on investments with 91 countries.
To see the list of countries, click here.
To see the conventions, click here.

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Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
Yes. The formal investment regime remains among the least restrictive in the world.
Acquisition of Holdings
When more than 5% of the capital or voting rights of a company listed on the stock exchange are likely to change holders, it is compulsory to inform the Financial Market Authority (within 5 days) and the issuing company (within 15 days).
Obligation to Declare
For any acquisition of over 10% of the capital or voting rights of a French company: declaration for statistical purposes to the credit institutions.
For any creation or acquisition of more than one third of the capital or voting rights, when the investment is over 1.5 million Euros: administrative declaration to the Ministry of Finance (Directorate-General of the Treasury and Economic Policy) (in French).
Competent Organization For the Declaration
Directorate of the Treasury and Economic Policy of the Ministry of Finance
Requests For Specific Authorizations
Some sectors are subject to procedures to obtain prior authorization: games for money; private security; research and development activities on pathogenic or toxic agents; phone-tapping systems; information technologies; information systems security; goods and technologies with a dual use; means of cryptology in the digital economy; companies holding national defense secrets; the arms trade; companies which have concluded a contract with the Ministry of Defense.

Learn more about Foreign Investment in France on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Investment Opportunities

Investment Aid Agency
The French Agency for international investments (AFII)
The Fund for the Development of SMIs
OSEO, Financing and support for SMEs
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
BOAMP, French Public Procurements (in french)
EBP, Tenders and Projects in France
Tenders Info, Tenders in France
Ted - Tenders Electronic daily, Business opportunities in EU 27
DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide
Other Useful Resources
Report of the AFII
The heading devoted to business opportunities of the AFII
Report on foreign direct investment in France, AFII, 2009

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Learn more about Investing in France on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Last Updates: February 2015