Produce paracetamol in France. Ensure the manufacture of raw materials, to be able to make surgical masks in our territory. And grow, too, more fruits and vegetables in our fields. A few months after the onset of the health crisis – which highlighted our dependence in key sectors – the government intends to relocate many companies to regain the sovereignty of France.
To convince the bosses, the government took out its checkbook: one billion euros will be invested in projects to relocate strategic sectors. Which? Health, electronics, food, 5G and raw materials useful for industry.
100 million euros for the first call for projects
A call for projects has already been launched at the end of August to attract the first candidates for relocation. “100 million euros have been released for this first call for projects,” explains Bercy. There will be others later. We study the files in order of arrival: if they meet our criteria, they will be partially funded. The small agribusiness SME or a laboratory like Sanofi could thus benefit from the funds of the recovery plan.
It is impossible for the moment to know how many files have already arrived in the offices of the General Directorate of Enterprises (DGE), in charge of selecting projects. “Candidates have until November 17 to send their file,” we continue. But we have identified many companies interested in this relocation assistance. “
VIDEO. Macron visiting Sanofi: “Reproducing paracetamol in France”
From there to imagine a massive return of factories installed in China or India? Not at all. “It’s unlikely, we recognize in Bercy. Our objective is above all to ensure the localization of know-how in France. Not necessarily that factories close on the other side of the world to relocate here. “
Example with the French group Lesaffre, based near Lille (North). The Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, has been visiting this industrialist, a specialist in yeasts and fermentation, which has around sixty sites around the world in recent days. While it intends to submit a file via the call for projects, the Lesaffre group does not plan to relocate one of its factories in France.
The cost of labor and taxation, obstacles to relocation?
“Our goal is to launch a production line in France on a new site,” we explain. We would manufacture chondroitin there, an ingredient used to relieve joint pain, now mainly produced in China. The key: national production and 400 jobs created in the Lille region.
But will the others follow? Because even with the aid provided by the State, the cost of labor and the French tax system will they not put off our French bosses? At Seqens, we assure you not. This pharmaceutical group has just opened a new production line for active ingredients in Île-de-France and even intends to relocate part of its production. “Engineers and researchers are of an excellent level in France,” assures Gildas Barreyre, Director of Public Affairs at Seqens. It is essential to innovate and remain competitive globally. As for workers, we need to hire very qualified profiles. In China, where competition is very strong, the cost of these workers is getting closer and closer to that of France. “
In China, environmental constraints as heavy as in France
Another argument in favor of relocation: environmental constraints are now as heavy in China as in France. “As for India, it’s a matter of time,” he continues. Suddenly, today, expanding an existing site in France will always cost less than launching a new unit abroad. In addition, even if we are a private company, we are committed to participating in the conservation of know-how in France. “
Despite a very heavy tax? “It is true that we pay twice as much production tax in France as in Germany,” he laments. We therefore welcome the reduction in these taxes. But we remain vigilant because the details have not yet been specified. We are going to lower certain taxes, but we already know that taxes on energy will increase. “