“We are passing through quite hard times, anxiety reigns in French business circles over current situation,” he said, opening the annual Paris conference on French-Russian co-operation and world visions of the countries.
French business community finds it extremely important to maintain talks between the two countries in different formats amid particularly sharp deterioration of relations between Russia and the West, Quidet said. “It would be a worst scenario to interrupt these talks now,” he noted.As for Russia’s importance for French business Quidet recalled France was among the three largest foreign investors in Russian economy now. “More than 1.2 thousand French companies operate in Russia, around six thousand companies are related in some way with export on Russian market,” he noted, adding that “This is a total of hundreds of thousands of jobs. Russia is a key trend for us and sanctions would be a catastrophe for both countries.”
Russian economy remains attractive for foreign investors even despite temporary difficulties and growth of foreign political tension amid current Ukrainian crisis, the head of the French-Russian Commerce and Industry Chamber added. “In fact, some slowdown is observed, but it will be temporary,” Quidet said.
In general, Russia has several undisputable advantages, including a low level of state debt, massive gold and foreign currency reserves and “an extremely strong middle class that had not been affected in the recent economic crisis,” he said. “Russian market is one of most attractive for France and the country cannot be absent there,” the French commerce chief executive said.