Why did Vianney de Chalus, former President of the CCI Internationale, select you as his replacement?
Vianney de Chalus, also President of the CCI of Le Havre had already performed half of his five-year mandate when he was offered the position of President of the Supervisory Council of the Grand Port Maritime du Havre. He turned to me to replace him at the CCI
Internationale, and frankly, I don’t really know why (laughter). It should be said that I had already held responsibilities at the CCI Internationale for the Loire region for a number of years. So I knew how the association worked.
So how exactly does this association, created in 2010, work?
The CCIs have long been offering aid to international businesses. International CCIs existed for fifteen or so years before the CCI Internationale was really created in 2010.
The association gathers 420 employee advisers spread out over 26 regional subscriber CCI Internationales. The head office is at Rue de la Première Armée, in Paris. I go up there several times a week. We work with elected representatives and the UCCIFE (the Union of French Overseas Chambers of Commerce and Industry), our partner deploying private Chambers in 81 countries on five continents. Just a few days ago, I was in Shanghai where I found a full platform to help French companies fulfil formalities and to provide information. The Ministry of Foreign Trade also supports us to help French businesses to set up overseas. Very recently, we launched France International
to energize our strength overseas.
What is France International?
The idea is to launch a single portal to facilitate the tasks of enterprises. A social network will gather all of a company’s exporter contacts, all VIE (Volontariat International en Entreprises or International Business Volunteering) contacts, and so on. In this way, we offer a strategy for every type of enterprise. Debutants or first-timers can rely on leaders by developing partnerships, big companies with strong turnovers can help much smaller ones.
What strategy do you recommend to an enterprise wishing to export overseas?
First, don’t do it alone. It’s crucial to be accompanied. Next, you need capital. And then, everything depends on the company’s sector. All companies have their specific interests.
Brazil is very protectionist but generates success once the doors have been pushed open. We recently helped a foie gras company originating from Nantes to set up in Japan.But generally speaking, companies tend to forget Africa. We can’t continue to let the