French ambassador: Charlotte's 'on the map' for business

Charlotte ObserverMarch 2, 2012 

French-American relations are at a high point, and North Carolina is poised to reap the benefits, France's ambassador to the United States said Thursday in Charlotte.

Ambassador Francois Delattre told a World Affairs Council audience that like North Carolina, Charlotte has become a destination for French companies.

He touted figures: $3 billion a year in trade, $1.3 billion in French investment in the state, 30,000 North Carolinians employed in French-owned companies.

Delattre predicted that investment will only grow as investors become more familiar with Charlotte and the state.

"It's a bit new (to investors), but it's on the map now," he said in an interview. "It will be more on the map during the (Democratic) convention."

Delattre attended a reception Wednesday night at the Charlotte Country Club with executives of French and American companies and French nationals. On Thursday, he toured the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art.

Also, accompanied by the French regional consul general and Honorary Consul Laura Meyer Wellman of Charlotte, he met with Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers and talked about nuclear and renewable energy issues.

He said his country is working to develop research alliances with American universities, including Duke and others in North Carolina.

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