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American firms turned off France by Hollande

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18:19 CET+01:00
France's attractiveness as a place to do business has plummeted in the eyes of US businesses active in the country after the change to a Socialist government, according to a survey released Thursday.

The survey among the heads of the French units of US companies found that only 22 percent saw France as an attractive place to do business, down from 56 percent in 2011.

Conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Paris and consulting firm Bain and Company, the survey questioned 52 leaders of French operations of US companies that had 39,000 employees and generated €32 billion ($42 billion) in sales last year.

Some 39 percent of the business leaders said they believed their headquarters in the United States had a negative perception of France, compared with 15 percent in 2011 and 9 percent in 2010.

While the drop in attractiveness was due to a range of factors, 65 percent of respondents said the election of a Socialist government had had a negative effect.

The survey was conducted in October, before the new government sent shivers through business circles by threatening to nationalise a steel factory toprevent ArcelorMittal shutting it down.

Some 85 percent of those polled had a negative opinion of the government's business tax policies, although 73 percent were in favour of a €20-billion initiative that would lower their tax charges to employ workers.

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