France woos China as financial hub

Updated 2017-07-20 10:45:23 Global Times

Says Paris a better alternative to London after Brexit

French officials on Wednesday sought Chinese cooperation in the financial sector as the country tries to promote Paris as a financial center in the EU, filling in a potential vacuum left by London after Brexit.

In a press briefing at the French Embassy in Beijing, the officials positioned France as a more stable partner for China and a better environment for Chinese and global investors, following a vote in the UK to leave the EU, and in the U.S. to elect Donald Trump as president.

"We were convinced that France would vote for a new business-minded president, which has not been the case for the UK with Brexit and even with the U.S. with Mr Trump," Arnaud de Bresson, chief executive of Paris EUROPLACE, an association that represents the financial industry and institutions in Paris, told a press briefing in Beijing.

Bresson said that although his association is against Brexit and that London's position as a global financial center won't be changed, the situation does provide opportunities for other European financial centers to play a larger role and Paris has much to offer.

"We have the most advantages, best conditions and the best environment in Europe for investment," Bresson said, pointing to various advantages Paris holds, including location, economic reforms and policies.

In a bid to build Paris as the main financial center in the EU after the UK's exit, the French government has introduced various favorable policies, including cutting corporate income tax from 33.33 percent to 28 percent, and establishing simpler administrative procedures for foreign firms to set up in the city, according to an official brochure.

Bresson, who was in Beijing to meet with Chinese officials and financial institutions to prepare for upcoming forums on Sino-French financial cooperation, said that Chinese companies and banks are welcome to invest in Paris.

He noted that Paris has been playing a major role in the internationalization of the yuan and that China and France have been enhancing cooperation in their financial sectors.

France realizes more than 40 percent of yuan transactions within the eurozone, compared with Germany's 19 percent, according to the brochure. Paris EUROPLACE also signed MOUs with Shanghai and Chongqing financial authorities to enhance bilateral cooperation. Bresson said that the two sides will carry out further cooperation in the financial sector.

France, under new President Emmanuel Macron, will further expand economic ties with China, French Ambassador to China Jean-Maurice Ripert said at the briefing.

"The new government in France is willing to continue existing cooperation with China as well as inject new vitality into the cooperation," Ripert said, highlighting multiple interactions between leaders of both countries at the recent G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

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