Minister urges French firms to try harder in Asia

11th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

MANILA, March 11 (AFP) - French companies need to make more effort in promoting their businesses in Asia, Foreign Trade Minister Francois Loos said on Friday.

MANILA, March 11 (AFP) - French companies need to make more effort in promoting their businesses in Asia, Foreign Trade Minister Francois Loos said on Friday.

Loos, winding up a three-day visit to Manila, said there were many opportunities waiting for French business in the region.

Over the past two weeks Loos has led a delegation of 20 top French businessmen to Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines to explore business opportunities.

Loos said he was extremely happy with the tour but added: "It is obvious to me that French companies need to make more effort."

"In the countries we visited there is a great deal of potential but French companies are making minimum effort," he told AFP.

In the Philippines, despite its international image as a poor investment destination, Loos said French companies were doing well.

He noted that Lafarge's Philippine subsidiary, Lafarge Cement Services (Philippines), was the largest cement manufacturer in the Philippines with more than USD 1 billion (EUR 745 million) invested in the country.

"Obviously Lafarge is satisfied with its investment here," he said.

Recent orders by Cebu Pacific Airlines and Philippine Airlines for the Airbus was "good for French business but we can do more", he said.

Among the companies represented in the delegation were Lafarge, mobile phone maker Alcatel and financial groups BNP Paribas and Calyon.

After meetings with the country's central bank and trade department officials, Loos said he thought the Philippine government was doing its best in solving the economic problems it faces.

France is the Philippines' ninth biggest investor and was the sixth biggest aid donor from 1992 to 2003, official government figures showed.

About 100 French companies with a combined investment of about EUR 1.6 billion (EUR 1.19 billion) employ a Filipino workforce of about 8,000 in the country.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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