Spreading of charges, call for " solidarity " from principals vis-à-vis their suppliers: the Ministry of the Economy announced on Friday several measures to assist French companies penalized in their activity by the coronavirus.
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The government has notably decided to " maintain all measures " of spreading of charges, partial activity or derogations on overtime, which had already been put in place during the movement of yellow vests and strikes against the reform of pensions, announced the Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire, and the Secretary of State Agnès Pannier-Runacher during a press point. They spoke after a meeting in Bercy with representatives of many economic and industrial sectors impacted by the coronavirus crisis. Among the sectors most at risk, the automobile, luxury because of supply problems, or viticulture which sees its Asian exports put at stake.
Coronavirus could be considered " a case of force majeure "
Bruno Le Maire called on buyers from different industrial sectors to show solidarity with their suppliers, who are suffering from supply problems from China, the epicenter of the coronavirus. " We will ask all principals to show understanding to their suppliers, or second or third tier subcontractors ", he explained.
In some " very specific " cases, Bercy is studying " the possibility of considering the coronavirus as a case of force majeure ", which would allow the companies concerned to suspend some of their contractual obligations. The government has also decided to speed up the processes for approving supply sources, particularly in construction or chemicals.
Finally, the economic service of the French Embassy in Beijing will be mobilized to inform businesses daily of the state of the economic and logistical situation in each province of China. The companies had indeed alerted on the “ lack of information ”, according to Jean-Eric Riche, representative of the Confederation of SMEs (CPME).
0.1 impact of growth
Bruno Le Maire also confirmed that at this stage the epidemic would have an impact of 0.1 point on French economic growth this year, but he confirmed the government's growth forecast at 1.3%. It is a " realistic " assessment, he noted.
The Covid-19 virus appeared in late January in China's Hubei province, where many large international groups have factories. It has already infected more than 75,000 people in China and 1,100 elsewhere in the world, and has killed more than 2,200 people.