Lured by the French charm? GCC investments in France double

Published May 25th, 2014 - 09:28 GMT

France set a new record in 2013 in terms of the number of GCC investment initiatives taken, especially in manufacturing activities and research and development operations that have doubled last year compared to the previous year.

Salim Saifi, chief representative of Invest in France Agency, or IFA, in the Middle East, said the European country continued to attract investments from GCC with 13 investment projects in 2013, enabling 514 jobs to be created or retained.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE remained the leading source country in GCC, with eight projects. Other GCC countries recorded rises, including Qatar and Bahrain. Investment projects from GCC are mainly related to production activities including chemical industry, plastics, aeronautics and decision centres (primo-implantation). The structure of investment projects has increased added value with the establishment of two R&D centres, Saifi said.

“We are very pleased to see France break a new record in 2013 for the number of GCC investment decisions, especially in manufacturing activities and R&D operations, which had doubled from 2012 to 2013. This outstanding result confirms the quality of France’s innovation ecosystem, all thanks to the creativity of France’s talented individuals and the government’s bold policies that are appreciated by foreign investors,” said Saifi.

IFA, the agency responsible for promoting and facilitating international investment in France, said in its report “2013 Report: Job-creating foreign investment in France” that France attracted 685 new projects last year, compared with 693 in 2012. These investment decisions enabled 29,631 jobs to be created or retained, up from 25,908 in 2012.

“The results, announced by President Francois Hollande on February 17th in Paris at a Strategic Attractiveness Council meeting attended by around 35 foreign business leaders, highlighted the resilience of France’s investment attractiveness in 2013 amid slow economic growth in Europe,” the agency said.

French companies — more than 1,000 in the UAE — are seeking to offer their expertise to the organisers of Expo 2020. The French Business Council (FBC) of Dubai and the Northern Emirates has set up a special contact and coordination desk to help businesses from France seeking to bid for projects in Dubai as the emirate gears up for World Expo 2020.

The UAE has been for several years one of major trade partners of France. Over the past 10 years French exports to the UAE had tripled. French exports grew 12.2 per cent in 2013 to €3.9 billion. Exports from the UAE to France recorded 7.3 per cent growth in 2013 compared to 2012. The UAE is also the eighth major petroleum products exporter to France.

According to the FBC, the number of French residents as well as tourists to the UAE has been growing. Last year, the UAE received round 20,000 French visitors.

The IFA report shows that the United States remained the leading source country, despite the number of investment decisions falling from 156 in 2012 to 122 in 2013, accounting for 18 per cent of all foreign investments.

Europe was responsible for 61 per cent of new projects, compared with 58 per cent the previous year. Germany was again the leading European investor and second overall after the United States, with 106 projects. Italy remained the second ranked European country, with 64 investment decisions.

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