Virginia’s diverse economy and strong business climate provide a strategic advantage for French companies entering or expanding in the U.S. market.
French companies will find easy access to the U.S. market with 47% of the U.S. population located within a one-day drive of Virginia. The Commonwealth’s strong transportation infrastructure ensures optimal access to major east/west and north/south interstate highways and rail lines, regional and international airports, and seaports.
Virginia’s exceptional logistics include:
- Six interstate highways
- Two Class 1 railroads – CSX and Norfolk Southern
- 16 commercial airports serving Virginia, including Washington Dulles International
- 3rd-busiest port on the East Coast – The Port of Virginia
The Port of Virginia is planning for additional growth with major expansion projects currently underway and is the only port on the East Coast authorized for 55-foot channel depths to handle the larger cargo ships of the future as first and last port of call. The Port of Virginia moved more than 3.5 million TEUs in 2021 – making Virginia an ideal location for import or export centers to serve the U.S., Asia, or Latin America for French companies.
Virginia is adjacent to Washington, D.C., and within 480 kilometers of New York City.
Virginia’s proximity to Washington, D.C., allows for quick access to U.S. Embassies and federal decision-makers. Nonstop service to Paris (CDG) is available on United Airlines and Air France from Dulles International Airport, located in Virginia.
In Virginia, you will find a business-friendly environment. More than 820 internationally owned companies are located here, and the international base continues to grow.
Virginia has a competitive cost environment for business:
- Industrial electricity rates are below the U.S. average at 6.42 cents per kilowatt hour vs. 6.61 cents nationally (EEI, 2020)
- Unemployment insurance taxes are 6th-lowest in the nation and an average tax rate of 28% of total wages compared to the national average of 59% (The Tax Foundation)
- Average workers' compensation costs among the nation’s lowest
- Construction costs fall below the national average by 7% to 20%, depending on the region
Virginia is ranked No. 1 by CNBC and No. 4 by Forbes in their Best States for Business studies. The Commonwealth also ranked No. 3 in the Forbes study for regulatory environment, which looks at labor regulations, tax incentives, health insurance mandates, and occupational licensing.
Virginia’s biggest strength lies in the quality and productivity of its workforce. Virginia is a right-to-work state and, at 2.4%, has the fifth-lowest private sector unionization rate in the country (UnionStats, 2021). Virginia is known for its world-class higher education system that provides a strong pipeline of new graduates from local and regional universities.
The Virginia Community College System, comprising 23 community colleges, provides occupational and technical training programs, many of which are designed specifically to meet the needs of nearby industries. The Workforce Industry Credentials Grant program covers 124 different community college training programs at Virginia’s community colleges geared toward providing workforce credentials at one-third of their former cost to the student.
The Virginia Registered Apprenticeship is a training system that produces highly skilled workers through a combination of on-the-job training and theoretical classroom instruction to meet the demands of employers competing in a global economy.
Virginia offers the affordable, exciting, and diverse environment that employees desire, with a mild, four-season climate, competitive cost of living, and world-class cultural events, outdoor experiences, and sports amenities. Whether in small towns or thriving urban communities, businesses that locate in Virginia have an advantage in attracting talent.
French Companies with Virginia Locations
In the last 5 years, more than $10 billion in capital investment has been made by French companies in Virginia. (BEA)
Virginia ranks 13th in employment from Europe in the U.S. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, French companies employ more than 20,100 people in Virginia, including:
Today’s announcement marks the opening of a new chapter in the long-lasting history of the CMA CGM Group with the United States and Virginia. The strong, trustful ties that bind us to the Commonwealth of Virginia will be further reinforced with the creation of 400 new jobs and strategic investments. Such a partnership is a great opportunity for our Group and our American customers.