While professional federations were invited to the Ministry of the Economy on Friday to share their difficulties linked to the epidemic, Bruno Le Maire unveiled a series of measures to support their activity.
Take stock and anticipate the difficulties related to the coronavirus. This was, in substance, the objective of the meeting which was held this Friday morning in Bercy and in which the federations of the major French economic and industrial sectors participated under the patronage of Bruno Le Maire.
While the Chinese economy has been almost completely at a standstill for nearly four weeks, the economic impact promises to be significant for many French companies, whether they are directly established in China, or depend from France on locally produced products for their supply chain.
Why the Chinese economy remains paralyzed by the coronavirus
At the end of the morning, the Minister of Economy and Finance confirmed the estimate of the Treasury, which calculated a negative impact of 0.1 point on GDP growth in 2020. Bruno Le Maire mentioned a “realistic” prediction, nevertheless recalling the vigilance of the executive in the face of “the development of the epidemic”.
Battery of measurements
To limit the backlash from the slowdown in activity in China, Bercy took advantage of this day of discussion with professional federations to unveil a series of short-term measures.
The cash arrangements taken during the yellow vests crisis or strike movements, namely the use of partial activity, exemptions from the number of overtime hours or even the spreading of tax and social charges, will be maintained if necessary. per case, according to the minister.
Air France-KLM figures the impact of the coronavirus at this stage at 150 to 200 million euros
In addition, Bruno Le Maire called on contractors, particularly in luxury goods and automobiles to “understand” their subcontractors impacted from China by the epidemic, by refusing for example their impose late penalties. Bercy has also approached lawyers to assess the possibility of assimilating the coronavirus to a “case of force majeure”, allowing certain companies to free themselves from their contractual obligations.
Lack of information
While the lack of visibility and information on the evolution of the virus is an incapacitating factor for many industries, the ministry mentioned the establishment of a daily information point carried out by the economic service of the French Embassy in Beijing. The objective being to assess the situation “of activity and logistics of the various Chinese provinces. “
To help the construction and chemical sectors in particular in their search for new suppliers, Bercy will speed up the approval process for new sources of supply.
The number of coronavirus infections is on the rise
Judging that this epidemic was the opportunity to “draw good from evil”, Bruno Le Maire finally pointed out the vulnerabilities of supply of certain production sectors in France: “We must seize this epidemic to question ourselves on our strategic dependence in terms of supply on certain industrial sectors “, judged the minister, pointing the finger at the automotive or health sector, where nearly” 80% of the active ingredients of drugs are produced in China ”.