* Govt's tax credits aimed to foster competitiveness
* Aerospace says exporters not benefiting
* Govt to hold talks with business on tax reform
By Tim Hepher
PARIS, Jan 8 France's aerospace industry urged
the government on Wednesday to widen a corporate tax credit
scheme designed to foster competitiveness, saying it had helped
the country's low-paid postal workers but not its exporters.
France passed a law in late 2012 offering tax credits to
businesses with the aim of cutting the cost of employing people
by 20 billion euros ($27 billion) annually from 2015.
The credits are based on the number of employees earning up
to 2.5 times the minimum wage and are intended to boost
investment, training and jobs.
France's aerospace industry, which includes Airbus, the
world's second-largest planemaker, said this should be increased
to 3.5 times the national minimum wage.
"That would start to have a significant impact," Marwan
Lahoud, president of the GIFAS aerospace industry association,
told a news conference.
The benefits to aerospace of the current threshold were so
small as to be equivalent to statistical "noise", he said.
Aerospace is France's largest export sector and Lahoud, who
is also the strategy chief of Airbus Group, said the
current scheme had mostly failed to feed through to the export
sector because of higher average salaries in that part of the
Desperate to revive the euro zone's second-biggest economy
in the face of near record high unemployment, President Francois
Hollande said in his new year's address that he would cut
companies' labour costs further in exchange for firms hiring
The Finance Ministry is due to hold talks with business
chiefs on tax reform later this month.
Lahoud said France's post office had been among the biggest
beneficiaries of the tax credit scheme.
Though the government had hoped the scheme would boost
exporters in particular, tax experts say the construction and
service industries have benefited most so far.
The aerospace industry is one of the rare sectors in France
that has enjoyed strong exports in recent years as most other
manufacturers have steadily shed foreign market share.
Shares in aerospace firms such as Airbus Group and Safran
have doubled in the past year as the industry stacked
up record orders. Critics say it does not need any further
public support but aerospace bosses say the industry supports
skilled employment capable of stimulating the rest of the
The French aerospace sector employs 170,000 people at an
average gross annual salary of 48,000 euros, a spokesman for
GIFAS said. It produced combined revenues of 48.4 billion euros
($1 = 0.7349 euros)
(Editing by Leigh Thomas and Susan Fenton)