For the second year in a row, Business France, France’s public investment bank Bpifrance and the Medicen Paris Region cluster have organized a Healthcare French Tech Tour in Israel.

The aim of this specially tailored immersion program in the Israel HealthTech ecosystem is to enable French startups to assess their development potential, forge technology partnerships, and start off on the right foot in one of the most innovation markets in the world.

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This second tour was attended by seven startups specializing in medical devices, biotechnology, and digital healthcare. They were handpicked after a competitive selection process by a panel of French and Israeli experts in the field, and will receive customized support for three months, including a week’s immersion in Tel Aviv from May 20-25, 2017.

 

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The annual IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook analyses the capacity of countries to stimulate and sustain business competitiveness, using a composite competitiveness index based on four pillars: economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency, and infrastructure.

France gained one place overall in the 2017 standings, with particularly good showings for its world-leading infrastructure. Among other highlights, it was ranked sixth in the world for qualified engineers available in the labor market, fifth for technological infrastructure, and 10th for health and environment infrastructure.

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France also stood out for its innovation capacity and scientific performances, along with its highly skilled and productive workforce.

Through its internationally focused economy, France is the world’s seventh leading goods exporter and fifth leading exporter of services.

 

Business France organized a seminar showcasing French expertise in the construction and smart transport sectors on June 1, 2017 at the French Embassy in Singapore.

Eight French companies presented their innovation solutions to a select audience of key decision-makers from the public sector (environment agencies, city planning officials, building specialists, industrial developers, transport agencies, etc.) and private sector, including developers, urban planners and architects.

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The following day, French national daily Le Monde organized a conference, in partnership with Business France, on visions and models for 21st century smart cities. Five “Le Monde Smart Cities International Innovation Awards” were handed out at the event, attended by the Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Vivian Balakrishnan.

France’s CGT trade union said a strike by transporters of hazardous materials that has caused fuel shortages could be wound down by the weekend after talks on Wednesday with the transport ministry.

The hardline CGT called the strike, which triggered panic-buying at petrol stations across the country, demanding wage increases and better working conditions for drivers.

“We’ve made a lot of progress today,” the head of the CGT’s transport branch, Jérôme Verité, told reporters after the talks. He said an agreement with the government would now be put to strikers for approval.

French oil and gas company Total said that 83 out of its 340 petrol stations in the Ile-de-France region, that includes Paris, had run out of fuel, compared with 40 stations the previous day.

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Nationally, 4 percent of its 2,200 petrol stations were out of fuel and a picket line was hampering supply from three fuel depots which were operating at minimum capacity, it said.

No official figures were available for more than 11,000 petrol stations across France operated by other businesses.

France Info radio reported that 523 petrol stations in France were completely dry, while another 400 were partially out of fuel.

The shortage has been exacerbated by drivers rushing to fill up their vehicles ahead of a holiday weekend.

Prior to the union meeting, Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne said in a statement there was no widespread shortage beyond supply difficulties in certain areas. She urged consumers not to panic-buy and to maintain their usual consumption patterns.

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A year ago, workers striking against labour market reforms blocked access to fuel depots across France, forcing the government to dip into oil reserves to ease shortages in the build-up to the Euro 2016 football championships taking place in the country.

In the current strike, tanker drivers want their working day to be limited to 10 hours and are also demanding increased medical checks and pay due to the often hazardous nature of the products they are transporting.