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The UK-France Business Forum: 4th edition


This 11th and 12th March saw the 4th edition of the UK France Business Forum hosted by the French Ambassador.  Initiated by the French Chamber of Great Britain and the Franco-British Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Forum’s core mission is to strengthen commercial ties and promote business relations between France and the UK.  

This edition of the Forum also marked the 120th anniversary of the Entente Cordiale, a landmark agreement that paved the way for a strong and enduring partnership between our two nations.  

The Forum welcomed influential business leaders from 28 companies from France and the UK, alongside key figures from institutions such as la French Tech, the British Embassy, France Digitale, BCC, TechUK, and the Hydrogen Delivery Council.  

Participants revisited the Forum’s core themes of mobility, clean growth, and technology and innovation, with a focus on cross-Channel collaboration on the hydrogen industry, the upcoming AI Safety summit to be hosted in France later this year, and the introduction of the European Entry Exit System (EES). 

The discussions have shaped the Forum’s work programme and we have committed to progressing the discussions over the summer in the following areas:  

  • Hydrogen: Paving the Path to Clean Energy. The Forum highlighted the need for bilateral collaboration to advance hydrogen development and deployment, especially in light of increasing international competition in both supply and material production. The UK’s robust regulatory framework combined with France’s extensive infrastructural expertise provide a potential win-win for strategic collaboration in this area. With that in mind, Forum members will take part in a virtual taskforce on hydrogen with the goal to produce a concise paper outlining business-driven recommendations for a UK-France hydrogen partnership.  

  • Artificial Intelligence: Looking Beyond Risks and Towards Opportunities. The discussions underscored the importance of broader industry participation at the upcoming AI summit. To unlock the productivity benefits of AI, businesses require practical guidance on responsible AI implementation, including governance and risk management strategies. To address these critical points, we will establish a task force comprised of relevant Forum members. We will invite TechUK and France Digitale to contribute to these discussions. This group aims to produce a joint letter to both governments outlining the Forum’s views and ideas for the second AI Safety Summit in France. 

  • Mobility: Navigating New Processes with the Upcoming Implementation of the EES Mobility and its challenges, particularly with the impending implementation of the new Entry/Exit System (EES), were examined. Insights from John Keefe of Getlink illuminated business is preparing for the expected impacts of the EES on border flows and operations. This ongoing discussion emphasises the Forum's dedication to facilitating smoother border transactions and enhancing mobility. 

The Forum concluded with a strengthened resolve to deepen Franco-British cooperation across pivotal sectors. The constructive insights on hydrogen and AI reflect the Forum's ethos of forward-thinking collaboration. With the anticipation of the next European Political Community in Summer and a potential UK-France Summit, the Chamber’s critical role in facilitating business dialogue and shared knowledge remains paramount.  

The French Chamber of Great Britain, through its long history of fostering Franco-British cooperation and its initiatives like the UK-France Business Forum, remains committed to playing a vital role in this process.  

We invite our members to get involved with our advocacy work. Please visit our website to learn more about our work and take our latest survey on mobility. If you have specific expertise in hydrogen or AI in business operations and you wish to contribute to our working groups, then please contact cpennetier(@)ccfgb.co.uk.  

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