The eco brief. Industry: relocate or reindustrialize?

An assembly line at the Renault plant in Tangier (Morocco). (FADEL SENNA / AFP)

Large French companies have become the champions of relocation since the 2000s. A report from the Institut France Stratégie (the former Planning Commission) confirms this. The document submitted Thursday, November 19 to the deputies is rather severe.

Six hundred pages to explain how French industry has become, with the United Kingdom, the most deindustrialised economy of the G7, the seven richest countries on the planet. This document brings water to the mill for those who trace our deindustrialization much further back in time – some forty years – according to the authors, French industry has lost half of its workforce which does not represent today more than 10% of our total jobs.

According to France Stratégie, the explanations for this decline are mainly due to particularly high taxes on productivity, and progressive over the years. What the state wants to remedy today by lowering what are called production taxes, taxes that hit the turnover of companies even before they have paid their suppliers and their traditional taxes . A real destabilizing factor which has led to a deterioration in French competitiveness and pushed our companies to relocate in order to produce in low-cost countries. Consequences for employment: positions in industrial subsidiaries of French groups established abroad now represent more than 60% of the workforce against 52% for the United Kingdom and 38% for Germany.

Vast debate: should we relocate our industries or prefer reindustrialisaton? Relocate yes, but all industries no. Everything that is strategic of course, including some medication. For the president of the think tank “La Fabrique de l’Industrie”, Louis Gallois, the urgency is to emphasize the maintenance of the existing industrial activity by promoting the modernization of the production tool, by playing the dynamics of the territories and as a priority, beyond the recovery plans: setting mobilizing objectives. Except for research and innovation, the reindustrialisation of France is not just a question of money.

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