On Wednesday, 9 March, Pierre Lellouche, Minister responsible for Foreign Trade, in close coordination with the MEDEF [Mouvement des Entreprises de France – French business confederation], will bring together at Bercy [French Economy Ministry] the representatives of the main French companies present in the Maghreb and the Middle East.
With nearly €50 billion of trade in 2010, France is one of the Arab world’s main trading partners. Through more than 3,000 subsidiaries and several hundred thousand related jobs, French companies also play a key role in the economic and social development of the countries on the Mediterranean’s southern shore.
Through this meeting – the first of its kind since the troubles in the region began – Pierre Lellouche wanted to establish dialogue with French companies about their interests and prospects in the Maghreb and the Middle East.
The meeting will be an opportunity to discuss the role of French companies in the economic and trade aspect of France and Europe’s response to the changes under way in the Arab world, in the run-up to the extraordinary European summit on Libya and North Africa of 11 March.
Pierre Lellouche will then go to Tunisia during the week beginning 14 March. He will be the first French minister to take with him to Tunisia a complete delegation of about 15 companies, coordinated by the MEDEF and representing some 10 sectors of the economy, from infrastructure, transport and industry to new technologies, innovation, services, textiles and healthcare.
This trip prefigures the organization before the summer – in agreement with the Tunisian authorities – of a Franco-Tunisian business forum, whose aim will be to strengthen the economic partnership with Tunisia, in response to the country’s needs./.