Q. – How healthy are foreign-oriented businesses?
THE MINISTER – Obviously the international context has deteriorated. There was a reduction in trade in 2020 – nearly 10% globally. Some industries were especially affected. That was the case with the automotive industry, aerospace and tourism. But our export system is resilient. It’s solid. For example, at the beginning of 2021 we regained the number of exporting companies we’d had in 2020. There are almost 130,000 of them.
Q. – The crisis has speeded up new modes of consumption. Is there a threat hanging over exports?
THE MINISTER – It’s important for us to relocate some of our production to France in order to be less dependent on foreign, particularly Chinese, suppliers. One of the goals we’re pursuing when it comes to the recovery is to support that relocation. However, we mustn’t turn in on ourselves. We have international opportunities that are exceptional.
Q. – You’re in Mayenne today, Thursday. How do you view the attractiveness of the regions?
THE MINISTER – France’s attractiveness depends on its regions. In 2020, 70% of foreign investment projects in France were in towns of under 20,000 inhabitants. That nurtures the regions. There are some very quantifiable factors to attractiveness, like taxation, administrative constraints, etc. They play a role. There’s also quality of life: educational and health conditions. It’s increasingly sought after by skilled individuals who leave the major metropolitan areas or return to France after an international career./.