International markets

France: Mechanical Engineering Industry has a Reason for Optimism

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Industry in France suffers from outdated equipment

The French industry had shown a downward trend over a long period of time. Only one in ten employees is employed in this sector; in the year 1980, the share was more than 21 %. And the share of manufacturing industry of gross value added is just about half as high as in Germany with 11 % in France. Thus, the smaller companies dominate in the mechanical engineering industry; the average is approximately 20 employees.

Even the equipment of the companies is considered outdated. In case of industrial robots, France had an asset of just over 31,600 as compared to 58,400 in Italy and 1,75,200 in Germany in the year 2014 according to the assessments of the International Federation of Robotics (IFR). According to FIM, in all 200,000 units have been sold in the machine tool industry in Germany; in France jus over 25,000.

France supports its industry with focussed support program.

During the financial crisis 2008/2009, even the policies paid attention to the problem and had launched different programs. In the meantime, Paris focused on ten sectors with the program "Industrie du futur" (the future industry). However, the nature of the cooperation should primarily change: The French ministry of economics plans a merger of specialized organizations and research institutes to pool the maximum resources, since the industrial companies were primarily cooperated and trained under the leadership of industry representatives as a part of the previous program.

The alliance for the revival of French industry (l’alliance pour la relance de l’industrie française) has been founded as a platforn for the program implementation. The French president François Hollande said in the presentation of the plan "Factories of the future must integrate all new technology". And he gave the following justification for this: "If an indutry no longer invests, it loses the market shares."

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France enhances support for small and middle-scale companies

The place of persons in the factory, industry robots, 3D-printing, non-destructive examination, visualization and internet of things and composites remain the focus of the research. Hollande said "We can not only make up for the deficits, but also can get a head start with the help of the new technology".

Moreover, support for small and middle-scale companies should be enhanced. By next year, the alliance wants to implement 15 lighhouse projects; the country has already sanctioned 300 million Euros for the same. With this project, in all 15,000 companies should be sensitized for the necessity of digitalization according to plans; 2000 out of these want to provide support to the alliance for modernization. The country provides a new fiscal instrument for financial support: Up to 140% of the investments, which shall be implemented up to 15th April 2016, are depreciated as a part of an "additional depreciation" (suramortissement) subject to specific conditions. The development bank BPI France provides 8 billion Euros on favourable terms.

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