Collectively implementing economic diplomacy
Around 5,000 local authorities are conducting cooperation projects in 147 countries worldwide. Local authorities are key players in France’s global presence and outreach.
They complement the activities of the State and can be called on to support economic diplomacy abroad. Regional identity has an impact on competitiveness and attractiveness. The attributes of French regions therefore need to be promoted internationally. At the Ministry, the Delegation for the External Action of Local Government (DEACT), which is part of the Directorate-General for Global Affairs, is responsible for maintaining these ties.
Local authorities, especially at the regional level, are involved in the Ministry’s economic diplomacy activities. International missions (networking, international trade shows, etc.) are supported by the Ministry and its network abroad.
Diplomatic advisors to regional Prefects liaise between local authorities and diplomatic circles.
Business France is the government agency responsible for internationalizing the French economy. It was created in 2015 following the merging of the Invest in France Agency and Ubifrance.
Business France uses its national and international network to:
- Support the international development of businesses, especially SMEs and intermediate-sized enterprises, and facilitate international exports;
- Manage and promote the International Internship Programme (VIE);
- Develop foreign investment in France;
- Promote France’s economic image and the attractiveness of its regions abroad.
Business France is jointly supervised by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of the Economy and Finance, and the Ministry for Territorial Cohesion and Relations with Local Government.
To implement the government’s foreign trade strategy, these ministries are currently supporting the agency’s reform.
In particular, Business France has signed an ambitious goals and resources contract for the 2018-2022 period, which has three strategic focuses:
- Launch the “Team France” project: as part of the reform of government support for businesses, Business France will help launch the Team France project in French regions by dispatching staff abroad and to chambers of commerce, in partnership with the private sector. In addition, Business France will develop digital solutions platforms to better support businesses.
- Develop the activities of Business France and Team France: Business France will provide high-quality support to businesses, develop foreign investment projects in France, and promote the VIE programme abroad.
- Improve the efficiency of public spending and contribute to rationalization efforts by the State and its agencies abroad: the agency will contribute to efforts to reduce public spending and restore a financial balance, thus ensuring its financial sustainability.
Ministry of the Economy and Finance
The Government wishes to better coordinate public efforts to support the international development of French businesses. The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs has therefore been tasked with defining and implementing France’s international development policy, for both foreign trade and tourism. Working with the Minister of the Economy and Finance and other relevant ministers, he has prepared and conducted international trade talks at the multilateral, European and bilateral levels. He coordinates the activities of services working to promote French economic interests abroad.
Private Sector Aid Fund – Emerging Markets Reserve
Support for French corporate investment in emerging and developing countries.
French firms have recognized expertise in establishing and operating public infrastructure critical to a country’s development, in fields such as water and sanitation, public transport, energy, agronomy, etc.
France’s Project Subsidy Policy
The Emerging Markets Reserve (RPE), previous financial protocols, and the Private Sector Study and Aid Fund (FASEP) are designed to benefit developing countries, in particular emerging countries, with French industrial know-how and engineering (large groups and SMEs).
Both of these instruments, implemented by the Directorate-General of the Treasury, are considered part of France’s official development assistance (ODA). As such, they meet the guidelines for French ODA, with special emphasis on sustainable development.
Ownership of these projects is essential for their successful completion. The RPE and FASEP are therefore geared towards needs prioritized by recipient countries in national development strategies. These tools are only used at the request of recipient countries.
The RPE is designed to support some 20 emerging countries in the form of concessional loans for the implementation of development projects. French financial aid is granted on the basis of a detailed review of each project, including a preliminary assessment by an independent expert.
Since 2000, the RPE has supported 70 projects for a total amount of €3.2 billion.
The FASEP provides donations to around 60 eligible countries in a broader geographical area, with a view to assisting local contracting authorities in conducting studies to prepare infrastructure projects and investment policies. Since 2000, €260 million has been donated to pay for 400 services provided by more than 150 French companies in 55 countries.
FASEP example in Indonesia
Satellite monitoring of fishing activities
Indonesia has one of the largest fishing areas in the world, and one of the biggest fishing fleets. Fishing is a central economic sector.
The project’s aim was to provide the Indonesian authorities with technical tools allowing them to achieve two goals: monitor fishing activities in order to better use fishing resources, and comply with international recommendations on the monitoring of fishing vessels, particularly with respect to illegal fishing.
Thanks to RPE financing (totalling €9.4 million), Indonesia implemented a turnkey monitoring system using Argos beacons and data processing software developed by Collecte Localisation Satellites (CLS), a subsidiary of the French National Centre for Space Studies (CNES). Some 1,500 vessels have been equipped with beacons, a fishery monitoring centre has been established, and patrol boats have been equipped for interception. The rest of the Indonesian fleet is gradually being equipped.
The Public Investment Bank (Bpifrance)
The Public Investment Bank (Bpifrance) is a state-owned organization set up at the initiative of the French President. It provides financial backing to promising small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and intermediate-sized enterprises (ETIs) throughout France.
Bpifrance supports companies at each stage of their life-cycle, from their setting up to their listing on the stock exchange, and from credit to equity.
International action by the Caisse des Dépôts Group
Caisse des Dépôts is a public group and long-term investor serving the general interest and France’s economic development.
The Caisse des Dépôts Group invests over the long term mostly in France, as a minority shareholder alongside private investors.
It conducts two types of investment:
- General interest investments, which mostly concern regional development and support for SMEs;
- Long-term financial investments (in shares, real estate, capital and infrastructure) to enable it to finance its general interest missions.
The Caisse des Dépôts Group is present in more than 90 countries through the activities of its subsidiaries. Its role as a long-term institutional investor is central to its mission.
Since 2007, it has relaunched its activities at the European and international levels:
- It works with European institutions, particularly through its representation office in Brussels;
- It helps structure long-term investment in the Mediterranean region and Africa;
- Working with the Long-Term Investors Club and the Institutional Investors Roundtable, it is developing a European and global network of major long-term investors, with support from CDC International (a subsidiary fully owned by the Caisse des Dépôts).
The role of chambers of commerce and industry (CCI) and CCI France International (CCI FI)
The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs works in close cooperation with chambers of commerce and industry (CCIs) and CCI France International (CCI FI) in order to best serve the interests of French businesses.
Chambers of commerce and industry are responsible for defending the interests of businesses with public authorities, in order to increase their competitiveness and that of their regions, and to provide them with suitable and effective services (locally and internationally) at all stages in their development.
CCI France International (CCI FI) brings together and coordinates 123 French chambers of commerce and industry in 92 countries. CCI France International, formerly known as the Union des Chambres de Commerce et d’Industries Françaises à l’Etranger (UCCIFE), was founded in 1907. It federates, represents, coordinates and develops France’s network of chambers of commerce and industry abroad.
The role of the French Business Confederation (MEDEF)
The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs works with the international branch of MEDEF, whose activities to support businesses are an important form of economic diplomacy.
Moreover, MEDEF lobbies policy-makers at local, regional and European level on a permanent basis in order to emphasize the corporate viewpoint.
Role of the Confederation of Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (CPME)
The Confederation of Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (CPME), formerly the General Confederation of Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (CGPME), is a private and independent inter-professional employers’ organization. The CPME represents and defends all small- and medium-sized enterprises across all sectors (industry, trade, services and craft) at national and international level, with public authorities and social partners. The CPME brings together professional federations and regional inter-professional bodies.
The role of Chambers of Trade and Handicrafts (CMA)
Chambers of Trades and Handicrafts are established throughout France. Working closely with beneficiaries, they carry out public service missions that are crucial to the structuring of the craft industry and business development.
The craft industry is expanding, and the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs is seeking to step up its collaboration with Chambers of Trades and Handicrafts with a view to implementing effective economic diplomacy.
Updated: March 2019