Mr. Serge Boscher, Managing Director of the Invest in France Agency
Japan: leading investor from Asia in France
With 34 new job-creating investment projects in 2012, Japan was France’s sixth largest investor and the leading investor from Asia. A number of significant Japanese investment decisions were taken over the course of last year. With its new plant in Aquitaine, Toray created 80 jobs, while mobile social gaming specialist gumi chose France as the location for its European headquarters, creating around 100 jobs.
More recently, Amada invited the press, along with French ministers Ms. Nicole Bricq and Mr. Arnaud Montebourg, to a conference at which it announced it would be investing €40 million at its three French sites and that its new European headquarters would be located in the Paris region.
Mr. Masaya Fujiwara, Minister and Business Developement Executive ad interim at the Japanese Embassy in France
2013 has been a very eventful year with a number of significant developments in Franco-Japanese relations. Mr. Masaya Fujiwara, Minister and Business Development Executive ad interim at the Japanese Embassy in France, reminded everyone of President François Hollande’s state visit to Japan last June, while Mr. Koji Toyokuni, Director General of JETRO Paris, highlighted the framework agreement signed between the IFA and JETRO in June 2013*. This agreement will further consolidate the partnership between the two organizations by combining the specific characteristics of each to help Japanese companies set up operations in France, whilst also speeding up answers provided to Japanese companies already located in France. “We will move forward together and France will be a driving force for Japanese investments in Europe” said Mr. Serge Boscher, Managing Director of the IFA.
Mr. Hiroyuki Miyake, President of the CCIJF
France: a springboard to international markets
Mr. Hiroyuki Miyake, President of the CCIJF, chose to speak about a subject of increasing interest to Japanese business leaders – Franco-Japanese co-operation to facilitate the development of Japanese investments in Africa. This theme was also specifically addressed in the second part of the seminar by Mr. Olivier Josset, Partner-Attorney at law firm Fidal. With its central location in Europe, France can act as a springboard to international markets as it is considered to be a link between Northern and Southern Europe on a cultural level and has highly-developed infrastructures serving international markets. French companies already located in Africa have a good understanding of the market and have much to offer as partners to Japanese companies.
Mr. Olivier Josset, Partner-Attorney at law firm Fidal
This observation was then added to by Mr. Takayuki Sanno, Chief Operating Officer of the Orangina Schweppes Group. Suntory Beverage acquired Orangina Schweppes in 2009. As a result of this acquisition, the Japanese company now benefits from the strong position of Orangina not only throughout Europe, but also in the African market, with a significant presence in Morocco and Cameroon, as well as emerging economies.
Mr. Takayuki Sanno, Chief Operating Officer of the Orangina Schweppes Group
In addition to this key subject for the Japanese business community, the 2013 Japanese Investors Club also addressed structural reforms in France, with presentations by Ms. Sabrina Losio, Legal Expert at the IFA and Mr. Julien Balensi, Partner-Attorney at Altana, focusing on the Employment Act of June 14, 2013 reforming the labor market in France, as well as France’s competitiveness and employment tax credit and flagship research tax credit.
Ms. Satoka Tonegawa, Senior Investment Adviser at the IFA
First FAQ guide for Japanese companies in France
The final part of the seminar was devoted to presenting tangible advances in Franco-Japanese business relations. Each stakeholder (CCIJF / JETRO / IFA / OFII) spoke for a few minutes – Ms. Satoka Tonegawa, Senior Investment Adviser at the IFA, referred to the agency’s missions with Japanese companies and its role as intermediary with the French government. Ms. Tonegawa also did a focus on Japanese investments in France. Mr. Hitoshi Endo, Chairman of the CCIJF’s Corporate Environment Committee and Mr. Kenjiro Suzuki, Deputy Director General of JETRO Paris, accompanied by Ms. Fatia Bouteiller, Legal Expert, Economic Immigration at the IFA and Ms. Nathalie Hayashi, Deputy Director of Immigration at the French Immigration and Citizenship Office (OFII), unveiled the first Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) guide for Japanese companies. This publication was compiled following the information seminar for HR managers organized on June 25, 2013. Produced jointly by the IFA and the OFII, it is designed to answer concerns that Japanese companies may have, mainly regarding the issuing of visas and residence permits. This FAQ guide can now be consulted online at the IFA website.
Mr. Hitoshi Endo, Chairman of the CCIJF’s Corporate Environment Committee and Mr. Kenjiro Suzuki, Deputy Director General of JETRO Paris, accompanied by Ms. Fatia Bouteiller, Legal Expert, Economic Immigration at the IFA and Ms. Nathalie Hayashi, Deputy Director of Immigration at the French Immigration and Citizenship Office (OFII)
Finally Mr. Hubert Testard, the Director of the IFA’s Singapore office, presented a preview of a book due to be published in 2014 on Asian investments in France, in which Japan will figure prominently.
Ms. Vanessa Pointet, Communications Project Manager at the Invest in France Agency and Mr. Julien Balensi, Partner-Attorney at Altana
Once again, the event ended on a festive note with a closing cocktail party providing the opportunity to interview some of the Japanese companies in attendance. A film focusing on the Japanese business community in France will soon be released.
*In addition to the bilateral agreement signed between the IFA and JETRO, a further two-part agreement has also been signed between JETRO and UBIFRANCE (the French goverment agency for international business development). One of the initiatives specified in the partnershi contracts is the organization of a joint event, which will take place at the premises shared by UBIFRANCE and the IFA on Decembre 17, 2013.