UK-France Business Forum: British MPs and Business Leaders Discuss Mobility and Clean Growth


On June 13th, business leaders and British MPs were invited to exchange ideas on the key topic of the Franco-British trade relations. Hosted by Stephen Crabb MP, Chair of the APPG for France, at Portcullis House, the roundtable provided a unique opportunity for key stakeholders to discuss the UK-France Business Forum’s work on mobility and clean growth.

The first subject of discussion, mobility, engendered a panoramic overview of the various challenges faced by corporations when coordinating with an international workforce. Companies face a multitude of obstacles, from complications in rapidly transferring talent for short-term missions, to the intricacies involved in hiring young professionals from Europe. An emphasis was placed on the need for the UK to devise a youth mobility scheme, drawing inspiration from France's Volontariat International en Entreprise (VIE), but implemented on a bilateral basis.

Further proposals called for a surge in cross-Channel collaborative projects to stimulate mobility between the UK and France. However, it was acknowledged that this would necessitate a revision of the British visa system. Participants noted that while the Home Office is seeking solutions for specific mobility issues, such as school trips and musicians, addressing youth mobility at large becomes a significantly more complex issue given its political implications.

Participants also underscored the crucial role of mobility in nurturing innovation. As many multinational corporations operate through expertise hubs, the seamless relocation of their experts is critical for cross-Channel operations and innovation.

The subsequent topic, clean growth, saw participants delve into the increasing desire of companies to embrace more sustainable practices in their operations, supply chains, and investment strategies. However, the current legal and regulatory landscape presents certain obstacles. A case in point is the UK’s fragmented recycling system, which presents significant challenges for waste management companies.

On the topic of circular economy and practices, participants highlighted the need for tax systems in both countries to support companies, particularly multinationals, in implementing cross-Channel circular practices without imposing an excessive tax burden. Additionally, the importance of knowledge sharing between France and the UK regarding clean growth and net-zero targets was stressed.

The roundtable was a testament to the strategic collaboration and deep-rooted ties between France and the UK, showcasing the willingness of stakeholders from both sides of the Channel to confront common challenges and foster a mutually beneficial business environment. The ideas and strategies discussed serve as a roadmap for the future, charting the course for enhanced bilateral relations and shared growth.

The French Chamber has a close relationship with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for France, the cross-party group gathering MPs and Lords with an interest in France. In addition to regular roundtables and meetings, we co-host a yearly Franco-British Reception at Parliament.

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