Mais oui! French business does too speak English

23rd March 2006, Comments 0 comments

SYDNEY, March 23, 2006 (AFP) - France may be committed to protecting its culture from English and American intrusions but a senior trade official Thursday conceded the Gallic tongue had been overtaken in global business.

SYDNEY, March 23, 2006 (AFP) - France may be committed to protecting its culture from English and American intrusions but a senior trade official Thursday conceded the Gallic tongue had been overtaken in global business.

"Of course English is the international business language," the head of France's international investment body, Clara Gaymard, told reporters in Sydney.

Gaymard, who is seeking to attract greater foreign investment from China, India, Australia and ASEAN nations, said that investors coming to France did not need to learn another language to do business.

Many French companies such as car manufacturer Renault and gas company Total already held their board meetings in English, she said.

"It's a new reality; we have to make it known," she said.

Gaymard, who heads the Invest in France Agency, said that France should no longer be seen simply as an Old World nation of wine and cheese lovers but as a highly productive modern economy with a well educated workforce.

She said that while "France is always shown as a country of strikes and demonstrations", in reality the loss of working days to labour action was much lower than in several other European nations.

The cost of doing business in France was also less than in the United States, she added.

Gaymard said she had come to Sydney for two days of meetings with Australian executives because of the growing interest from local investors, particularly in the financial sector, about investing in France.

Some 80 percent of Australian investment in Europe currently goes to Britain.

But Australian investment in France is on the rise, most recently with Macquarie Bank successfully bidding with France's Eiffage late last year for the privatisation of the Autoroutes Paris-Rhin-Rhone tollway — a deal that will see the Australian bank invest some US $2.8 billion in the project.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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