Trends following Covid-19
In response to the crisis, the French national and regional authorities have put into place the Economic Response Plan in order to mitigate the economic impact on businesses. Support measures are aimed at
- direct financing (solidarity fund and other direct financial support, access to state guaranteed business loans and accelerated tax refunds);
- postponement of payments (business loans, social contributions, direct taxes, commercial lease and invoices of gas water and electricity);
- limit economic damages to employees and employers (partial activity or temporary lay-off, conditions for taking paid leave and sick leave for employees who have to take care of their children).
France is in the summer of 2020 in a phase of recovery, reopening and reinvention. Managing this economic uncertain time will be a challenge for businesses, since a second wave is to be expected and the pandemic may have altered our habits. New consumer behaviour focussed on local procurement, responsible consumption and decarbonization must be taken into consideration in future business development: less is more and small is beautiful.
According to a survey conducted by EY between April 20 and 30, 2020, international business leaders were contemplating a minor or major reduction of their investment projects in France but none of them mentioned neither cancellation nor expansion.
A substantial decline in investment in the aviation, automotive, equipment, chemicals and plastics sectors could be expected, but the French government has developed several investment programs for these sectors, which are subject to sustainable and circular objectives. Other sectors, including healthcare, online entertainment and e-commerce should be less affected by the current crisis. A major trend to be envisaged could be the automation and digitalization of industrial processes, back offices and customer relations. In addition, a reconfiguration of global trade and supply chains could take place, which results in a new combination of reshoring, nearshoring and offshoring.
In general Dutch entrepreneurs are considered in France as reliable business partners. They are innovative and technically strong and have a strong sustainability image. Such strengths may contribute to doing successfully business in France, as well during and post Covid-19.