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BUSINESS

American firms turned off France by Hollande

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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BUSINESS

French court hands Amazon €90,000-per-day fine over contracts

French authorities on Wednesday slapped a €90,000-per-day fine on e-commerce giant Amazon until it removes abusive clauses in its contracts with businesses using its platform to sell their goods.

French court hands Amazon €90,000-per-day fine over contracts

The anti-fraud Direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes (DGCCRF) service said the online sales giant’s contracts with third-party sellers who use its Amazon.fr website contain “unbalanced” clauses.

“The company Amazon Services Europe did not comply completely with an injunction it was served and it is now subject to a fine of €90,000 per day of delay” in applying the changes, the DGCCRF said in a statement.

It also urged the platform to conform with European rules on equity and transparency for firms using online platforms.

Amazon said the order would harm consumers.

“The changes imposed by the DGCCRF will stop us from effectively protecting consumers and permit bad actors to set excessive prices or spam our clients with commercial offers,” the e-commerce giant said in a statement.

“We will comply with the DGCCRF’s decision but we absolutely do not understand it and we are challenging it in court,” responded the e-commerce giant in a statement.

Amazon said the clauses that the DGCCRF has ordered removed had, for example “prevented the appearance of exorbitant prices for mask and hydroalcoholic gel during the pandemic”.

In 2019, Amazon was fined €4 million for “manifestly unbalanced” contract clauses with third-party sellers on its site in a case brought by the DGCCRF.

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