Doing business in France: Is it worth it?

Contrary to popular belief, doing business in France is now easier than what people say. A prime tourist destination, France is also popular with entrepreneurs, exporters and investors. Read on to find out why.

First, it's important to emphasize that doing business in France means venturing into a market of some 67 million people--and it doesn't stop there! Because France is centrally located in Europe, connected to the United Kingdom by the Channel Tunnel and close to Africa and the Middle East, it's an entry point into a market of some 500 million consumers.

France or bureaucracy?

Reforms and simplified administrative procedures have made it easier than ever to do business in France. The proof? In an overall ranking of 128 economies, the World Bank ranked France 32nd in terms of how easy it is to do business there.

4 major advantages

1. Simplified administration for foreigners

To simplify the administrative procedures, the French government offers a number of residence permits to foreigners:

  • The "Skills and Talent" residence permit for non-European foreigners appointed as managers and top executives at a subsidiary in France.
  • The "Employees on Assignment" permit to allow for intragroup movements.
  • The "French Tech Ticket" for foreign entrepreneurs developing their start-up in France.

2. A connected nation

France is committed to carrying out the Digital Republic bill, which was voted into a law in January 2016. The law calls for the implementation of conditions that allow as many people as possible to access the web by enhancing territorial coverage for cellphones and high-speed Internet.

3. Internet access at a competitive price

With its plan to make France a wired nation, the country wants to provide high-speed Internet access to the entire population in all territories. France has the most public hotspots in the world--and one of the best communication networks. That's why the cost of high-speed Internet access is very competitive in France!

4. Efficient power system and transportation network

In addition to having a rich network of roads, railways and rivers, France relies on smart grids. They help to reduce waste, and optimize energy distribution and consumption.

Competitiveness centres

Competitiveness centres--also known as niches of excellence in Quebec--make it easier to access the necessary production resources (labour, subcontractors, lower costs, etc.) and the technological spin-offs resulting from the geographical proximity that promotes the concentration of industrial and economic activities.

Initiatives to promote international business

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which has been in force since September 2017, has boosted the flow of goods, capital and labour between Canada and the EU, with bilateral trade between France and Canada increasing by 7.5% during the first year of the Agreement (from October 2017 to September 2018).

Looking for information or help establishing your business in Europe?  - This link will open in a new window.Learn more about the role of the Desjardins Representative Office (Europe)