Trade and Investment Between France and Miami

Raphaël Trapp, the Consul General of France in Miami, began his posting here in September of last year. Prior to that, the consul general worked in Geneva and Vienna, and at the French Embassy in Rabat, Morocco as first secretary of the Political Affairs unit. We caught up with Consul General Trapp to discuss the strength of the French presence in Miami and how it has grown.

How do your previous posts compare to Miami?

At first sight, those cities are different from Miami. The climate is different, the size of the city is completely different, and the energy. But when you think a little bit about this, you can always draw a comparison between the cities. For instance, with Geneva, what Miami shared was the wealth and the business atmosphere. With Vienna, the common point is that they are both melting pots.

They have different people coming from a variety of origins. Here in Miami, people come from Latin American countries. In Vienna, people come from Eastern European regions… In Rabat, the common point is obviously the Atlantic – the proximity of the ocean – which is very important. The daylight is just incredible in Morocco, as it is incredible in Miami… which is the reason why we take beautiful pictures in both cities.

Why is there such a strong economic relationship and trade between Miami and France?

I think that there is a proximity between France and Florida. The fundamentals are quite the same. There is an important part of our economies that rely on tourism. We have 90 million tourists a year in France, which is quite big. We have strong investments in aeronautics and in aerospace. We are the gateways to very big markets. Of course, the U.S. markets here in Miami, and in France, are the gateway for the European markets. And European markets represent 414 million consumers. We are very good at logistics and cargo infrastructure.

We have ambitions regarding tech. And we are attractive to people because of the quality of life. So, this is the reason why the trade between France and Florida is booming. The trade relationship is experiencing impressive growth with an increase of 53 percent over the last 10 years. And on the other side of the Atlantic, the U.S. is the first foreign investor in France and the first foreign employer. There are 1,500 American companies in France, like Disney, Amazon, and McDonald’s. So, this situation is pretty good.

What challenges – and solutions – are there to enhancing U.S.-French trade?

Both countries are working together to provide each other with policies facilitating business exchanges, and negotiating [new] visa policies, which are really important for entrepreneurs and workers. So, we are very happy that those negotiations are about to be concluded and they will improve the capacity of entrepreneurs to come to the U.S. or to come to France. We also have tax agreements, which are also very important for workers and entrepreneurs – for them not to be taxed twice.

This is really important, especially in the U.S. where tax policies are quite complicated. What I’ve read is that it’s difficult in Florida to recruit and retain talent in various sectors – in the younger generation, specifically. This is mainly because of the cost of living here in Miami, and the level of remuneration. So, those are challenges for different companies based here. But… there are also different entities that exist here in Miami to facilitate the soft landing of foreign companies, like Venture Miami. So, we are very glad to have such entities here to help us.

How could France position itself as an investment hub for these tech companies?

In general, France is attractive to foreign investments. It’s Europe’s most attractive country for foreign investment for three years in a row. France is the sixth-best economy in the world and the growth in 2022 was 2.5 percent. The economic situation is good. It’s going well thanks to governmental policies and measures that have been taken to facilitate the creation of enterprises. France is among the easiest countries in which to start a business. There has been a reduction of the administrative burden for companies, so there is now a single point of contact that provides answers to investors regarding taxes [and] more flexibility in the labor market… and reforms have been made… to increase the competitiveness of businesses.

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