France, whose economic growth unexpectedly ground to a
halt in the third quarter of the current year, is increasingly
looking to India to give fresh impetus to its industries,
especially the small and medium ones, French ambassador
Dominique Girard said.
Large French firms have already established their presence
in India and France said it would now let SMEs tap the
growing Indian market. The plan, he said is to bring 500
SMEs to India over 2006-08, Girard said.
He said France has over two million SMEs representing
64 per cent of that country's total employment.
300 French companies are active in India, employing nearly
40,000 people, French SMEs are still lacking in number,"
he said, adding. "As against 3,000 in China, only
1,400 French SMEs are exporting to India and the main
objective of the meet would be to increase this number."
The French embassy together with the Federation of Indian
Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) and French industry
body UBIFRANCE would organise an Indo-French business
meet in December, aimed at enabling Indian mid-sized companies
and large business groups to network with multi-sector
French SMEs, he said.
large number of defence and aeronautic companies want
to establish their base in India and set up manufacturing,
R&D, training and production facilities in the country,
industrial production fell 0.1 per cent in the third quarter
after an unexpected drop of 0.9 per cent in September.
In the manufacturing sector, production of cars fell 3.1
per cent as French automakers' market share declined.
PSA Peugeot Citroen, Europe's second-biggest carmaker,
had its credit rating cut one notch at Standard &
Poor's, which cited declining sales in Western Europe.
Renault SA, the country's second-largest car manufacturer,
said third-quarter sales fell 4.5 per cent as demand for
its Megane Scenic van slumped.
The government has forecast a growing economy and declining
unemployment. Finance minister Thierry Breton has forecast
2007 economic expansion of between two per cent and 2.5
France's trade deficit, however, narrowed more than expected
as imports fell to a five-month low. Yet, the €7.3
billion ($9.4 billion) shortfall in the quarter exceeded
the previous period's deficit by €1.1 billion.