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France renews push to lure bankers to Paris after Brexit

Miguel Medina, AFP | The Grande Arche de la Défense, at the heart of the French capital's business district.

France on Monday renewed a push to tempt bankers to Paris after Britain leaves the European Union by pledging to temporarily exempt expats from paying into state pension schemes and making more places available in bilingual schools.


The French government has already announced measures to cut labour costs to make Paris more attractive to the banking sector post-Brexit following the election of President Emmanuel Macron in May 2017.

A former investment banker, the 40-year-old president has made labour rules more flexible and slashed wealth tax, promising to further cut taxes on business revenue by 2022.

Now EU expatriates in France will be able to opt out of compulsory contributions to the state pension scheme which make up about 2.3 percent of an employee's gross salary.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told investors on Monday that there would be 1,000 places available in the Paris region's multilingual schools next September, while three new multilingual high schools would be created by 2021.

France would also be ready to handle disputes over financial contracts governed by British law in March with new international sections at the Paris Commercial Court and the Paris Court of Appeal, Paris Europlace financial lobby said in a statement.

"The Paris financial centre now has strong momentum to welcome companies and international investors and strengthen its leading position in post-Brexit Europe," Gerard Mestrallet, the head of the Paris Europlace financial lobby said in a statement.

The announcement came at a highly-publicised summit on Monday of global CEOs - including Goldman Sachs's Lloyd Blankfein and JP Morgan's Jamie Dimon - in Versailles, where the prime minister explained French reforms, in English, over lunch.

Macron joined the more than 140 CEOs in the evening, after unveiling a 300 million euro investment by Japanese carmaker Toyota in northern France.

His labor market measures, perceived by many as weakening France's hard-won worker protection rights, prompted a series of street protests last year.

But France’s youngest leader since Napoleon, who is struggling to shake off a “president of the rich” tag, argues his economic policies will make France stronger to face globalisation.

Last November, he hailed Paris’s victory in the race to host the EU financial watchdog after Brexit as evidence of France’s growing attractiveness as a banking and financial centre.


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