France is a country brimming with opportunities for international business development. It is also a leading European location for access to the entire continent. Yet, to succeed in this market, a physical establishment is required, either by creating a commercial entity or by working through local distributors.
And many failures are caused by the wrong strategic decisions being made at the outset, such as choosing to set up in another European country deemed "cheaper" than France.
However, contrary to what too many people think, France can be highly competitive in terms of payroll costs and taxes compared to its European and particularly English neighbours.
It has an "official" social system providing health insurance for a contribution rate that varies with salaries and social security organisations.
In the light of the benefits they grant, these rates make France a social haven compared to the other countries in Europe.
But it is necessary to understand the French Social Security Code and extract from it the "pith and marrow"…
France can also be a legal haven: trade operations can be fully secured provided carefully studied distribution agreements are signed (for instance, under French law a distributor retains ownership of its clients, but contracts may provide otherwise…)
In addition, French Company Law is one of the most secure in the world: the concept of limited liability is very effective, particularly as regards protection of managers' private wealth.
Lastly, French tax law, when it is correctly understood, offers a good number of deductions especially for property acquisitions. In particular, office space in France is still affordable, especially in comparison to our foreign "rivals".
Owning property in Paris, for example, is a sound investment objective.
But to take advantage of all this potential, it is vital to seek out the right French advisors: business lawyers are perfectly suited to these requirements.