News French industry claims 20 billion euros in production taxes...

French industry claims 20 billion euros in production taxes less

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The Minister of Economy, Bruno Le Maire (left), and the President of France Industry, Philippe Varin, in Bercy, in February 2018.
The Minister of Economy, Bruno Le Maire (left), and the President of France Industry, Philippe Varin, in Bercy, in February 2018. ÉRIC PIERMONT / AFP

"Industrial policy" is no longer a dirty word, it is even back, with a state that arises as a catalyst. The President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, must specify, in January 2020, the content of the "Productive pact for full employment in 2025", an initiative that he had himself announced on April 25, at the end of the great postcrisis debate of "yellow vests". This pact will be negotiated between the state, local authorities and companies, in a threatening context: the slowdown in growth – especially in the euro area – threatens the slow recovery in industrial employment for two and a half years (+ 23 000 jobs in one year in the private sector).

It is in this perspective that Philippe Varin, president of France Industrie, which groups 62 large industrial companies, and its vice-president, Philippe Darmayan, presented Thursday, November 7, a series of necessary measures, according to them, to modernize the industry. productive apparatus and make it more competitive to attract jobs. Despite the progress recorded under the last three years, and recognized by the presidents of Orano (formerly Areva) and ArcelorMittal France, the "Competitiveness shock" advocated in 2012 by the report Gallois is still not at the rendezvous.

France Industrie places particular emphasis on employment, skills and training. Payroll reductions mainly benefit low-skilled and low-paid employees who dominate services; it wants to expand to 3.5 smic to favor more skilled industrial jobs. For its part, the sector is committed to increasing by 50% the alternation and apprenticeship by 2023, to develop the identification of youth profiles at regional and sectoral level, to open CFA in partnership between companies, private training organizations and universities. Or to "Massively promote the image of the industry among the general public and young people".

"We have not really been heard on this point"

The other priority of manufacturers is competitiveness. "The question, fundamentally, remains, Judge Varin. Without restoring it, there can be no robust and credible productive pact, as scaling up takes time. " So he is asking the government, just like he is doing for the reduction of the corporate tax, "An ambitious path of cost reduction" 20 billion euros in five years of the 80 billion production taxes paid by companies before they made any profit, seven times more than their German counterparts. It is, according to him, "A minimum, so that the pact is credible".

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"We have not really been heard on this point so far"regrets the ex-boss of PSA, which knows nothing of the State's fiscal leeway, whose deficit reaches 100 billion euros. No relief is provided in the 2020 budget law, but the government should commit to a decrease from the 2021 budget. The principle is acquired, has already announced Agnès Pannier-Runacher, Secretary of State to the Minister of economics and finance, Bruno Le Maire.

The federation of industrialists advocates a reduction in general and local taxation, with, as a priority, the abolition of the social solidarity contribution of companies (C3S). It should then compensate 3.8 billion euros to Social Security, already penalized by the plan decided by Mr. Macron to get out of the crisis of "yellow vests". France Industrie is also arguing for a significant reduction of two taxes that generate 25 billion euros for local authorities: the company property tax (CFE) and the value-added contribution of companies (CVAE). And here it is the municipalities, departments and regions, already hostile to the abolition of the housing tax, that will have to be convinced.

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A primordial territorial anchorage

Moreover, industrialists wish "A massive measure of support for investment". Objective: to finance new plants or their expansion, as well as innovation and the acceleration of the digital and environmental transition, where the French production system is lagging behind. She believes that the state should allow communities to modulate local taxation, like the free zones. Or vote a measure of massive overpayment.

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French industry must, according to France Industry, register in priority value chains for the European Union (artificial intelligence, automotive batteries, hydrogen …), in particular to benefit from the aid of the "Horizon Europe" program 2021-2027 . But its territorial anchorage is also primordial, remind the industrialists and the government. The Prime Minister launched, a year ago, the program "Territories of Industry", 144 basins where elected officials and entrepreneurs work to strengthen productive ecosystems.

Edouard Philippe will make an initial assessment, on November 14, on the occasion of the event The Usine Extraordinary, organized in Marseille, one year after that of the Grand Palais, in Paris. The success of old poles (Vitré, Figeac …) confirms it: almost half of the industrial success of a territory is due to the mobilization and the coordination of its actors.

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