Reforms to expand French growth 0.3 percent in five years

Paris, Sep 19 (IANS) A proposed law on growth and activity would help the French economy grow 0.3 percent over five years, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has said.

The economic reform, proposed by Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron, suggests more flexibility on shops’ opening hours in tourist zones and greater competition in closed professions, Xinhua news agency reported.

The reform would increase the GDP of the euro zone’s second largest economy by 0.4 percent over a decade, Macron said.

“In the context of a fragile global economy, the Law for Growth, Activity and Equality of Opportunities shows that each economic sector can and must help enhance the dynamism of the French economy,” Angel Gurria, OECD’s general secretary said on Friday.

“There can be no exceptions and the reforms need to be reinforced,” he said.

With the economic reforms, the government wants to let shops open up to 12 Sundays a year from five currently, with more flexibility on opening hours in tourist zones.

It also eyes opening long-distance bus routes and closed professions such as notaries to greater competition, a proposal that triggered demonstrations.

“The synergies between the effects of the reforms and a resulting increase in confidence will be just as important as the continuation of the reforms in the future,” the OECD wrote in a note to Macron.

“In order to improve productivity and ameliorate competitiveness, France should adopt new forms of entrepreneurship and new technologies,” OECD added, saying it was important to reinforce people’s skills and protect the most vulnerable.

The OECD hailed government’s moves to inject dynamism in the domestic job market mainly by reforming social dialogue rules and simplifying the labour code.

However, it called for more action to support job seekers and to implement ambitious reforms in education and training.

In its latest economic outlook, the OECD expected the French economy to grow one percent, in line with the government’s estimate.

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