Losses and profits. You can never be too careful. To avoid any headache in this hectic return to school, the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, made the detour this Monday, September 6 by the factory of the French company Seqens, in Roussillon (Isère), which will produce, in 2023, paracetamol , the active ingredient of the famous Doliprane. The head of government wanted to make it the symbol of his new policy of revival of French industry since Seqens, leader in this field, is supplied for the moment from its two Chinese factories. Thanks to the recovery plan and its generous subsidies, paracetamol becomes French again.
A little earlier in the day, Jean Castex celebrated the benefits of the same plan at the inauguration of the Global Industrie fair in Lyon. And, in fact, the first objective of this policy aimed at revitalizing the French economy after the shock of the health crisis, seems to have been achieved. According to the Prime Minister, nearly half of the 100 billion euro envelope has been distributed and it will be 70% by the end of the year. Of this considerable mass, more than a third is intended for industry. One in three industrial companies has had a project financed by the State, according to the Minister of Industry, Agnès Pannier-Runacher.
The will and largesse of the State are in any case appreciated. According to a survey of the movement of intermediate companies (between 250 and 5,000 employees), net job creations are at their highest level since 2009 and investments have jumped by 42% compared to 2019, mainly thanks to industry. .
But beware, the current upturn is temporary. State aid boosts construction which, in turn, stimulates demand for intermediate building goods, a specialty in France. For the rest, no indicator comes for the moment to consolidate a rebound of the French industry compared to its neighbors. However, of all the European countries, it is France which, despite proactive political speeches for decades, has let its industry slip the most.
Faced with soaring costs, wages and taxes, it has not been able, or known, to innovate and invest to fight against competition, not from China but from Germany, Switzerland, Italy or Spain. You cannot thrive by combining German costs and Spanish quality.
Especially since the challenge of innovation is now coupled with a decarbonization imperative which will inevitably affect the price and quality requirements of products. Never has this challenge of moving upmarket been so pressing, and it will take more than paracetamol factories to meet it.