Ministers outline plan to help exporting firms cope with impact of COVID-19

COVID-19 – Plan to support French exporting companies in response to the COVID-19 epidemic – Press release issued by M. Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy and Finance, and M. Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs

Paris, 31 March 2020

Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy and Finance, and Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, have announced a plan to provide exceptional support for French exporting companies in response to the economic slowdown linked to the COVID-19 epidemic.

This emergency plan will both help exporting companies cope with the immediate consequences of the crisis, including by securing access to liquidity, and ensure they can bounce back on the international market after the crisis. It is particularly intended for SMEs and ETIs (1), which are an essential driving force for industrial sectors in French regions, and complements the emergency measures taken by the Government in support of French businesses.

It has four exceptional measures to support export companies:

1. The provision of guarantees by the State on surety bonds and bridge financing through Bpifrance Assurance Export will be increased to ensure that exporting companies have access to liquidity. The guaranteed cover will be increased to 90% for all SMEs and ETIs. The validity period for bridge financing guarantee arrangements will be extended to six months.

2. The period of cover for existing prospection insurance policies will be extended by a year.

3. An additional €2 billion will be provided for short-term export credit insurance thanks to the expansion of the public reinsurance scheme Cap Francexport. The scheme will cover every country worldwide.

4. Support and information provided by Team France Export’s operators (Bpifrance, Business France and chambers of commerce and industry) will be stepped up, in conjunction with the regions and the network of [French] foreign trade advisers, along with private actors providing support [for exporting companies]. A specific mechanism has been put in place to monitor every geographical zone of interest to businesses. Business France is also tailoring its existing offer in order to provide solutions to businesses, given the impossibility of travelling abroad.

Financial support tools for export also remain fully available to help businesses retain or swiftly recapture their international markets, and they will be used actively to support businesses’ upturn once the pandemic is over, as will action by Team France Export:

- prospection insurance, which supports SMEs and ETIs to explore opportunities in new markets;

- FASEPs [French private sector aid and studies funding], subsidies for preliminary studies into infrastructure projects and innovative technology demonstrators;

- credit insurance handled by Bpifrance Assurance Export;

- loans from the Trésor for State-to-State projects in emerging and developing countries, particularly to address the health needs of the countries affected by the coronavirus, by mobilizing French industrial firms.
Bruno Le Maire said: “The export support plan we’re rolling out today will enable our businesses, particularly SMEs, to maintain their position internationally in the difficult context of the COVID-19 epidemic. Together with all those working with Team France Export, we’ll do everything we can to maintain our export businesses’ competitiveness, which has improved markedly since the beginning of the five-year term.”

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said: “Export prospects allow our businesses to be more resilient in order to tackle the current difficulties. The sun already seems to be rising in the East, in Asia. By stepping up our financial and international support, we’d like to help businesses through this difficult period and prepare the recovery as soon as the health conditions exist. We can count on the strength of Team France Export and on the solidity of the partnership established with the regions.”./.

(1) entreprises de taille intermédiaire are companies with between 250 and 4,999 employees and a turnover of less than €1.5 billion.

Published on 01/04/2020

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