The 2013/02/07 at 08:18
Marie Luginsland, in Germany
According to the third survey to be carried out by the AHK (Auslandshandelskammer Frankreich)*, the branch of German CCIs in France, 66 % of German businesses describe the French economic situation as “poor to very poor”. Not only are their spirits dampened, but German entrepreneurs in France are also pessimistic. 42 % of them expect the situation to deteriorate this year. According to a majority of them, things will not get better until 2014 or 2015.
73 % satisfaction
This is the general context. But looking a little closer, these company heads in industry, business and services give a “good” grade to the evolution of their own activities, with 57 % considering the latter to be satisfactory, and only 21 %, poor.
The black spots identified by the businesses interviewed concern job market conditions, namely employment law, salary levels and payroll costs, the role of unions, as well as the lack of flexibility on the job market. Other criticisms to be made by the German company heads – and in this aspect they do not differ from their French counterparts – include the weight of taxation and social contributions.
But France also harbours assets that the German enterprises do not fail to appreciate: good infrastructures, quality of life, the level of higher education and the protection of intellectual property. In the end, despite everything, 73 % of businesses surveyed are satisfied with their presence in France. These 3,000 German implantations in France and the hundreds of thousands of jobs they generate, are a key component of the French economy.
The two countries also enjoy close-knit trade relations, especially in the industrial sector. “Automobiles and mechanical construction make up one-fifth of these bilateral exchanges,” points out the AHK, specifying that “electronics, electotechnics, the food industry and metals as well as chemicals/pharmaceuticals are also strong points”. The AHK adds that “France shows growing interest in German service companies as well as in the whole of the environmental sector (renewable energies, energy efficiency, recycling…).” In French-German trade relations, the balance tips in favour of Germany, recording a surplus of 35 billion euros in 2011.
*The survey "Deutsche Unternehmen in Frankreich – Geschäftslage, Erwartungen und Erfolgsfaktoren 2012 – 2015" (German enterprises in France – the business situation, expectations and success factors”, is available from the AHK Frankreich email : email@example.com