Forget Me Not France

Given the current economic crisis of the euro-zone and the boom in Asian markets despite a global recession, countries such as India and China are high on the list of desirables for foreign trade.  Large growth percentages and high GDPs due to exporting have escalated these countries to the top of the economic food-chain and Ireland wants a piece of the action.  However, should we be considering options closer to home as well?

With a GDP of approximately €1.68 trillion for 2011 and a yearly growth increase of 1.7 to 1.8 percent, France has peaked our interest.  While the country exports around €438 billion per annum, data also claims that over €500 billion is imported into France each year. This poses opportunities both for French companies to grow and for Irish companies to take advantage of such a healthy tendency for imports to France.

The challenges There are many challenges to face when entering any market; the most obvious are concerns over import tax, language and cultural barriers, travel and transportation of products. Here are some things you need to know about entering the French market.

France is pushing for foreign investment.  This means tax cuts and incentives, as well as a relaxing of previously firm protectionist laws, allowing for more foreign investment at a cheaper rate.

Services are a huge aspect of the French GDP. This means while they are accustomed to service businesses, your company will be entering at a competitive incline.

France is proud of their language; therefore learning to speak French will be hugely in the companies favor as a relationship builder.

Key advice During a conference put on by Enterprise Ireland and Ulster Bank on 13 February 2012, a foreign business expert gave us a golden piece of advice.  Having an employee who is or has lived within the culture you are entering into is a key asset because they already know the language and cultural idiosyncrasies.

Play follow the leader:  Companies such as Killarney Plasters and OpenHydro are huge players in what the Irish Times dubs the French “Emerging Market”.  Making connections prior to entering a market is a key to getting a foothold as the French pay close attention to relationships.

You can start building those relationships right now and World Trade Centre Dublin is there to assist. In partnership with Small Business Can we now bring you a complementary way to prospect and win business in France. World Trade Centre Dublin - Live (WTCD Live) is an interactive platform designed to facilitate global business interactions and trade, where people, knowledge and opportunities come together.

If you are interested in doing business with France, please follow this link.

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