‘Choose France’ summit attracts record amount from foreign investment

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President Macron says funding from business giants such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Pfizer will benefit French citizens across the country.

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Foreign investments worth €15 billion have been promised to France as part of a pro-business event held in Versailles on Monday.

“Choose France”, an annual summit created by President Emmanuel Macron in 2018, was attended this year by 180 international CEOs and senior business executives.

Last year, the event raised €13 billion through the creation or extension of 28 projects.

This year’s funding record of €15 billion comes from 56 different initiatives.

Microsoft has pledged €4 billion of investment, Amazon €1.2 billion, Pfizer €500 million, and AstraZeneca €365 million.

“It’s a record-breaking year that will benefit French citizens in all of our regions,” Macron told French newspaper Le Parisien. “This is the best proof that coherent decisions and stable actions are major assets for our country.”

Capitalising upon the upcoming Paris Olympics, the theme of this year’s summit is “France, land of champions”.

The event comes less than two weeks after the nation was named the most attractive European country for foreign investors by accounting and consulting firm Ernst & Young (EY).

Overseas funding was used to finance 1,194 projects in France last year, according to EY, surpassing the totals recorded in Germany and the UK.

Despite this recent success, France’s widening public deficit is making some investors nervous.

In March, official statistics showed that the country had significantly overshot its deficit target of 4.9% of GDP, with the total coming in at 5.5%.

Due to concerns over balancing the books, credit rating agency Fitch lowered its rating for France last year to “AA−”, although this hasn’t been followed up by further downgrades.

When crowning France as the European champion for foreign investment, EY warned that competitors may begin to make headway in the coming years.

“While France has undoubtedly also benefited from the feared consequences of Brexit and Germany’s difficulties, there is nothing to suggest that it will be able to rely on the procrastination of its main competitors in the years ahead,” said EY.

As part of Monday’s event, President Macron will host round tables on subjects such as decarbonisation and artificial intelligence.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire will also meet with the CEOs of JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America, among others.

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