PARIS (dpa-AFX) - France remained the European country that attracted the most corporate investment from abroad last year. After the USA, Germany remains the second most important and largest European investor in the neighboring country, according to the foreign trade agency of the Paris Ministry of the Economy, Business France. Companies from the UK rank third in terms of foreign investment in France.

"The trend is continuing. As in 2022, Germany is by far the largest European investor in France," said Patrick Brandmaier, Managing Director of the Franco-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce, to the German press agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur at the weekend. Germany is France's largest trading partner. Investments and trade flows go hand in hand. "This is due to the attractiveness of the French market, its size, its qualified workforce and its proximity."

The crisis in the Red Sea has shown the benefits of investing in nearby countries. Many corporate decisions were also based on the desire to reduce the CO2 footprint.

Car manufacturing strongly represented

"We see a very high level of investment in all sectors," said the Chamber of Commerce boss. "Sectors such as the automotive industry remain strong, which is reflected in the investments in ACC batteries with Total Energies, Saft and Mercedes-Benz." German companies are also investing heavily in the energy sector, as evidenced by the partnership between Siemens Energy and Air Liquide. "The chemical sector is also well represented: BASF has invested 300 million euros in its global nylon center in Chalampé (Haut-Rhin) by 2022, while Bayer has invested in seeds."

German investments in France are not concentrated in the border region or Paris, said Brandmaier. "If you look at the settlements and investments, you can see that German companies are investing throughout the country."

Confirmation for reform course

The French government attributes the continued interest from foreign companies to its reform efforts. "We are continuing to implement structural reforms to create well-paid jobs across the country, facilitate investor activity and attract projects in the areas of research, production, digitalization and decarbonization," said Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy.

The US Chamber of Commerce in France (AmCham) also praised the economic situation in France. "Despite a 2023 marked by extreme geopolitical tensions, an energy crisis with high inflation, commodity shortages and a tight labor market, the French economy is once again proving its resilience and dynamism and remains a leader in Europe's attractiveness," it said a few days ago. From the perspective of US investors, however, France continues to suffer from high labor costs, a problematic social climate, excessive bureaucracy and a high tax burden./evs/DP/he