Paris looks to take advantage of Brexit chaos

The main political figures of Paris met with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls yesterday (3 November) to discuss how best to offer opportunities to foreign businesses looking to relocate to the capital region. EURACTIV’s partner La Tribune reports.

Even if it is too early to definitively say that Brexit will spark a mass exodus of UK-based companies towards mainland Europe, Paris is already starting to stack the deck in its favour. The capital’s political leaders would indeed like to profit from the impact that the UK leaving the EU is likely to have and attract new international investors and businesses.

To this end, initiatives like the “Try the frogs” campaign are set to be commonplace over the next two years and more. The region’s leaders also want to establish a type of “kiosk” for foreign companies looking to settle in the City of Lights.

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Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, President of the Île-de-France region Valérie Pécresse, President of the Metropolis of Greater Paris Patrick Ollier and Prefect of France and Île-de-France Jean-François Carenco were notable attendees.

Sniffing an opportunity to attract those disillusioned by the Brexit vote, they announced on 6 July, just days after the referendum’s result came in, that a service would be set up to be the sole contact for companies wishing to relocate.

Specifically, Paris wants to help these businesses “find premises in the region, settle in and get a handle on tax issues”, explained Valls. Moreover, it will help “employees with visas, spousal employment, nurseries and schooling”, he added.

The prime minister also said that anyone settling in France for these purposes would benefit from an impatriate tax scheme that is the “most favourable in Europe”. This will apply for eight years instead of five if the new finance act of 2017 is passed into law.

In short, Île-de-France is opening its doors to foreign entrepreneurs and businesses, where a warm welcome will be waiting for them.

The meeting was also an opportunity for Valls to take stock of the results being recorded from the government’s business policies. A few months out from France’s presidential election, any occasion is a good one to praise the success of the measures enacted under François Hollande’s time in office.

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The Thursday meeting was a suitable moment for Valls to remind his audience that government reforms are intended to attract business: the very purpose of the gathering he was at.

In particular, the prime minister highlighted how the gradual decrease in corporate tax from its current 33% to 28% in 2020 would be of huge benefit. The 28% rate will be in place for SMEs from next year.

“France is changing and is undergoing major reform,” he said, insisting that “for four years we have delivered for our country and put the economy on the right track.” Valls also made mention of the effect the horrific terrorist attacks has had on tourism and their subsequent negative impact on growth and employment.


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