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

President Emmanuel Macron welcomes 180 foreign leaders to the Palace of Versailles on Monday for a fifth “Choose France” summit, with the flagship announcement of a € 5.7 billion investment in a new semiconductor factory 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.

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, located in Crolles near Grenoble, will benefit from “significant financial support from the French state”, stated the Franco-Italian group STMicroelectronics and the American GlobalFoundries.

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

The first productions should be launched from the end of 2023, with an increase 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.

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”.

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 left-wing officials.

– Attractiveness –

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

Despite the loss of the absolute majority by the government, “there is no concern among the great leaders” for the continuation of a program favorable to industrial investments in France, assures the entourage of the head of state.

At the opening lunch of the summit, the Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire also wanted to confirm to the invited bosses that for the next five years the executive will continue “to lower production taxes, to improve the skills of our workforce and reduce the administrative formalities for the installation of new industrial sites “, according to the text of his speech sent to AFP.

In the climate of inflation in Europe, he also praised French electricity “cheap and low-carbon”, as well as the € 30 billion France 2030 plan that offers “opportunities for foreign investors”.

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.

Macron will also meet “large sovereign wealth funds”, such as those of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Korea, as well as Canadian funds.

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 permanent jobs in Roissy (Val-d’Oise), the Accenture 500 consultancy in Brittany and the Vietnamese Vinfast (automotive) from 350 to 400 in “showrooms” and workshops, according to the Elysée.

The British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will invest in clinical trials, the American Collins Aerospace (avionics, information systems – Raytheon group) in research and development and the German Vorwerk will acquire a second Thermomix plant, in Eure-et-Loir.

The Dutch interim working group Randstad will also hire 7,000 permanent employees by the end of 2022.

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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