Foreign Direct Investment in France

Overview by

FDI in Figures

France ranks third in the world in attracting Foreign Direct Investments. Paris is the second city in the world, after Tokyo, in terms of establishment of multinational headquarters. It has about 500. Nevertheless, the country showed a decline in foreign investment due to the deterioration of the international economic situation; this should however improve with the economic recovery.

The country's strengths include: its position as a fifth world's largest power, its highly skilled workforce, industrial base and agricultural resources and its geographic location in the center of Europe.


Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors

  France OECD United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 10.0 6.0 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 1.0 5.2 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 5.0 6.8 9.0 5.0
Index of Investor Protection**** 5.3 6.0 8.3 5.0

Source: Doing Business

Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action. **** The Greater the Index, the Higher the Level of Investor Protection.

Foreign Direct Investment 2007 2008 2009
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 96,221 62,257 59,628
FDI Stock (million USD) 1,260,244 920,842 1,132,961
Performance Index*, Ranking on 141 Economies 88 100 71
Potential Index**, Ranking on 141 Economies 19 18 -
Number of Greenfield Investments*** 569 680 408
FDI Inwards (in % of GFCF****) 17.3 10.0 22.8
FDI Stock (in % of GDP) 48.6 32.3 42.8

Source: UNCTAD

Note: * The UNCTAD Inward FDI Performance Index is Based on a Ratio of the Country's Share in Global FDI Inflows and its Share in Global GDP. ** The UNCTAD Inward FDI Potential Index is Based on 12 Economic and Structural Variables Such as GDP, Foreign Trade, FDI, Infrastructures, Energy Use, R&D, Education, Country Risk. *** Green Field Investments Are a Form of Foreign Direct Investment Where a Parent Company Starts a New Venture in a Foreign Country By Constructing New Operational Facilities From the Ground Up. **** Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) Measures the Value of Additions to Fixed Assets Purchased By Business, Government and Households Less Disposals of Fixed Assets Sold Off or Scrapped.

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Why You Should Choose to Invest in France

Strong Points
France is one of the world's ten economic powers. It has quality infrastructures. The work force is qualified and productive (second in Europe in terms of hourly productivity). France is an innovative country with an highly developed tertiary fabric.
Weak Points
The drawbacks of the French market are: one of the highest taxation rates in the world, significant manpower costs, low competitiveness in some sectors which can hinder the economies of scale. Research suffers from insufficient collaboration between the public and private sectors.
Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI
Foreign companies enjoy the same government aid as French companies (aid for productive investment, R&D, professional training, job creation, etc.). The number of administrative formalities for foreign companies to settle in France has been reduced.


To fight against the financial crisis, the French government has implemented different mesures: the economic relaunch plan has committed the financing of 1,000 projects. These investments bear on transport infrastructures, higher education and research, State real estate property, housing and urban redevelopment and also health. Additionally, Sarkozy's government has abolished the professional tax in order to permanantly stimulate investment. Furthermore, the government established a strategic investment fund of EUR 20 billion, in Autumn 2008. Its aim: to buy stakes in industrial companies whose development is essential to the French economy.

Bilateral Investment Conventions Signed By France
France has signed bilateral agreements on investments with 81 countries.
To see the list of countries, click here.
To see the conventions, click here.

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Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
Acquisition of Holdings
When more than 5% of the capital or voting rights of a company listed on the stock exchange are likely to change holders, it is compulsory to inform the Financial Market Authority (within 5 days) and the issuing company (within 15 days).
Obligation to Declare
For any acquisition of over 10% of the capital or voting rights of a French company: declaration for statistical purposes to the credit institutions.
For any creation or acquisition of more than one third of the capital or voting rights, when the investment is over 1.5 million euros: administrative declaration to the Ministry of Finance (Directorate-General of the Treasury and Economic Policy) (in French).
Competent Organization For the Declaration
Directorate of the Treasury and Economic Policy of the Ministry of Finance
Requests For Specific Authorizations
Some sectors are subject to procedures to obtain prior authorization: games for money; private security; research and development activities on pathogenic or toxic agents; phone-tapping systems; information technologies; information systems security; goods and technologies with a dual use; means of cryptology in the digital economy; companies holding national defense secrets; the arms trade; companies which have concluded a contract with the Ministry of Defense.
Find Investment Service Providers in France on

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Investment Opportunities

Investment Aid Agency
The French Agency for international investments (AFII)
The Fund for the Development of SMIs
OSEO, Financing and support for SMEs
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
BOAMP, French Public Procurements (in french)
EBP, Tenders and Projects in France
Tenders Info, Tenders in France
Ted - Tenders Electronic daily, Business opportunities in EU 27
DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide
Other Useful Resources
Report of the AFII
The heading devoted to business opportunities of the AFII
Report on foreign direct investment in France, AFII, 2009

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