French president pledges to restore competitiveness
Updated: 2012-10-30 17:23
By Li Xiang in Paris (chinadaily.com.cn)
French president Francois Hollande on Oct 29 pledged to restore the competitiveness of the French economy in the world market in order to fight the current economic crisis.
He said the French government will launch a "competitiveness pact" in early November to tackle the issue, which involves education, housing, public services, innovation and labor costs.
The French president made the comments at a press conference after meeting with heads of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organization, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and International Labor Organization.
Leaders of French private businesses on Sunday called for a 30-billion euro ($38.8 billion) cut in welfare charges paid by French employers over the next two years. The call was rejected by the government.
At the press conference, Hollande also reiterated the government's goal to reduce France's public deficit to 3 percent of GDP by 2013.
Hollande noted that high public debt, weak growth, persistently high unemployment and declining competitiveness are among the biggest challenges that the government faces.
He also warned of the gloomy prospects of the global economy, noting that growth has even slowed in emerging economies while the European economy remains weak and the US economy sluggish.
Pascal Lamy, the WTO's director-general, said that France and other European countries should promote growth and jobs through trade with emerging economies where demand remains active.
Lamy said that European countries should pursue "an offensive rather than defensive mode" when it comes to trade relations with developing countries.