STMicroelectronics headquarters in Paris, 9 October 2017 (AFP / ERIC PIERMONT)

A flagship investment in semiconductors and 180 foreign bosses invited: on Monday, President Emmanuel Macron and the government hold the fifth “Choose France” summit at the Palace of Versailles, an opportunity to brag about the attractiveness of France.

The day began with the announcement of the investment of € 5.7 billion by the French-Italian STMicroelectronics and the American GlobalFoundries to build a semiconductor factory in Crolles, near Grenoble.

“This is the largest industrial investment in recent decades, excluding nuclear power, and a big step for our industrial sovereignty: 1,000 jobs at stake,” said the Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire on Twitter.

He also welcomed a “reason for confidence in our ability to regain our industrial positions” at a press conference in Versailles.

These announcements come in a climate of tension, after the revelations on Sunday evening by the newspaper Le Monde on the ties that united Emmanuel Macron, then Minister of Economy (2014-2016), and the company Uber. Based on various testimonies and documents, these “Uber Files” conclude that there is a secret “deal”, aimed at helping the platform to consolidate its positions in France, which has been heavily denounced by elected opposition officials.

The industrial investment projects presented on Monday afternoon in Versailles (6.7 billion euros of investments, “more than 4 thousand jobs created”), come at the right time for the government, pressured by inflation that weighs on purchasing power .

The future semiconductor factory is part of the “Chips Act”, the European Union’s program to regain a place alongside Asia and America in world semiconductor production after the Covid-19 crisis.

The first productions, made possible by the “significant financial support of the French state”, according to the two groups, should be launched starting from the end of 2023, with a ramp-up until 2025-2026, according to the Elysée. . About 58 percent of production will be for GlobalFoundries, with the rest for STMicroelectronics, the two companies said.

“This is a key announcement for France,” said STMicroelectronics CEO Jean-Marc Chery, in front of the press at Versailles, saying he hoped it would pave the way for “other types of investments of this kind in the country”.

French President Emmanuel Macron during a videoconference at the Elysée, in Paris, for the opening of the previous summit

French President Emmanuel Macron during a videoconference at the Elysée, in Paris, for the opening of the previous “Choose France” summit, January 25, 2021 (POOL / Ludovic MARIN)

Mr. Macron will go there on Tuesday to present this factory project, which will ultimately be “the largest French chip manufacturing site and one of the largest in Europe”.

– Attractiveness –

For the Elysée, the record participation of foreign business leaders in “Choose France” – they were 120 against 130 in previous editions – shows “a very strong interest on the part of foreign leaders, following the re-election of the president”.

During the lunch that marked the start of the summit, the Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire assured them that for the next five years the executive will continue “to lower production taxes, improve the skills of our work and reduce administrative formalities for the installation of new industrial sites “, according to the text of his speech sent to AFP.

The leaders of Coca-Cola, Disney, Siemens, the American banks Citi, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, the Chinese conglomerate Fosun or the Australian financial services group Macquarie will find themselves under the gold of Versailles. Emmanuel Macron also met with important sovereign wealth funds from the Gulf, but also from South Korea or Canada.

“It is a unique opportunity to talk (…) with many great players and not only in France, but at an international level”, exulted Luigi Corradi, CEO of the Trenitalia railway company, which is about to enter the French market.

“It is incredible to see that so many companies are investing in France, it means that we are probably not wrong” to do so too, he added to AFP, welcoming the “good cooperation” with the French government.

FedEx will create 1,000 permanent jobs in Roissy, near Paris (GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / MARIO TAMA)

FedEx will create 1,000 permanent jobs in Roissy, near Paris (GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / MARIO TAMA)

Among other projects announced as part of “Choose France”, the express parcel specialist FedEx will create 1,000 jobs in Roissy (Val-d’Oise), the Accenture 500 consultancy in Brittany and the Vietnamese Vinfast (automotive) 350 to 400 in “showrooms” and laboratories, according to the Elysée.

British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will invest in clinical trials and Germany’s Vorwerk will install a second Thermomix plant in Eure-et-Loir.

France is proud to be the most attractive country in Europe for foreign investors by number of projects – 1,222 in 2021 – whose size is generally smaller, according to the EY company barometer.

Nearly 80 investment projects, amounting to € 12 billion and 21,000 jobs, have been announced as part of the ‘Choose France’ Summits since 2018: 25 have been completed, 50 are underway and five have been abandoned or postponed .

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