Archive for April, 2010

French halal market successful and growing in spite of political “unease”

April 25th, 2010 1 comment

This is taken from Expatica. Excerpts:

The increasing popularity of halal products is largely due to young descendants of Arab and African migrants, who want to enjoy the same culinary diversity as their non-Muslim French neighbours.Halal foie gras, non-alcoholic champagne, sauerkaut garnished with pork-free sausages: Muslim-friendly food is moving away from its immigrant roots and merging with mainstream French tradition.

While the fine wine and gourmet food exports that underpin the French food industry have been hit hard by the global crisis, the halal niche market has been growing fast.The boom went largely unnoticed until a hamburger chain tried a halal menu in some of its restaurants, sparking charges of communautarisme — a term roughly meaning “ghettoisation”, which grates against the French insistence on integration.

The growth of halal products is largely thanks to young descendants of Arab and African migrants, who want to enjoy the same culinary diversity as their non-Muslim French neighbours while remaining true to their cultural roots.

“It’s mostly driven by the second and third generations,” said Antoine Bonnel, director of the Paris Halal trade show held in early April.
“It’s not a case of the Muslim community withdrawing into itself, but rather one of integration, since they want to be able to buy halal sauerkraut or spring rolls,” he said.

Bonnel was referring to the increasing number of Muslims joining the French middle classes and expanding their culinary horizons, a trend that has even spawned a new term — beurgeois, a slightly ironic mix of bourgeois, or middle class, and beur, slang for North African.French sales of halal food are forecast to hit EUR 5.5 billion in 2010 and move “from the ethnic market to the mass market”, said Bonnel.

The word halal (lawful in Arabic) applies to food that has been prepared according to the prescriptions of the Koran.Islamic law requires meat to be slaughtered under religious supervision and forbids the consumption of pork and alcohol.The halal market, targeting France’s estimated five-million-strong Muslim population, has obvious attractions for retailers and restaurateurs, and market researchers say it is growing rapidly….

French driving veil row escalates

From below, but you can follow news in French here on Figaro.

French driving veil row escalates

A political row over the case of a French woman fined for driving in an Islamic veil gathered pace Sunday as a leading Muslim scholar and a French far-right leader both weighed in.
With the government planning to ban the full Islamic veil in public, the fining of the French woman in Nantes took a political turn when a minister threatened to punish her Muslim husband for offences including polygamy.
The woman has challenged the fine as a breach of her human rights.
Tariq Ramadan, a professor of Islamic studies at Oxford University, said that the move by French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux to punish the woman’s husband “betrays the values of France”.
“To be polygamous is illegal… that is the law that says that. But since when has a minister been able to say that they will take away his nationality?” Ramadan told around 1,000 people at a conference the Arrhama mosque in Nantes.
Hortefeux had written to Immigration Minister Eric Besson asking him to look into allegations the woman’s husband may belong to a radical group and may be a polygamist with four wives and 12 children and guilty of welfare fraud. He said the man could be stripped of his French nationality if they proved true.

Swiss-born Ramadan, who had a Bush-era visa ban lifted by the United States earlier this year, hailed the Muslim community of Nantes for refusing to react to “provocation” over the issue.
Mourad Sandi, an official at the Arrhama mosque, said the affair had been given too much attention in the media. “I am not sure the subject merits our discussing it, we do not want to add fuel to the fire,” he said.
But the collective of Nantes mosques said in a statement that they were “worried by this systematic stigmatisation which goes against the values of the Republic”.
The association “considers that the stopping of a driver is a judicial procedure and is angry at how such an event has been turned into being all about Islam.”

Meanwhile French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen told local media it was “scandalous” that the man’s alleged wives were receiving family benefits and said the potential stripping of the man’s French citizenship was “normal”…

Effective Strategies for Expatriate Cost Management

Brian Friedman of Totally Expat published this piece on managing expatriate employee costs. Excerpts are below (click on the link for more details, as there are 21 different items discussed):

We all know that expats are expensive and that a significant proportion of assignments fail – but what can be done to manage costs and to maximise the overall return on investment? And in these straitened economic times, we all know that expatriate costs are increasingly under the microscope……. Prioritise. Too many companies try to cut expatriate costs by reducing headcount in the International HR department or by forcing vendors into unsustainable price reductions. The reality however is that it is not internal headcount or vendor fees that make assignees expensive. In fact research undertaken by the Forum for Expatriate Management suggests that in-house costs typically amount to just 1-2%of total assignment costs and external costs amount to no more than 8-10%. The big costs are Assignment Allowances (35%), Property Costs (35%) and Relocation Costs (15%). So if you are looking to control expatriate costs, concentrate on the big ticket items – don’t rush to slash headcount….

Why More U.S. Expatriates Are Turning In Their Passports

Time recently published an article talking about how more Americans abroad are giving up their citizenship mostly due to heavier taxation.

On a related note, I recently wrote a piece interviewing Andy Coyne from Association of Americans Resident Overseas (AARO) for the April newsletter of My American Market (pages 4-5), and taxation is one of the main topics.

This is certainly a controversial issue, giving up U.S. citizenship. Have any of my readers done this or are considering doing this? Why or why not?

excerpts from the Time article:

John says that since he moved to Europe 25 years ago, U.S. tax regulations have become more and more burdensome. “Every time I turn around, I get smacked in the face with some new restriction as a result of being a U.S. citizen abroad,” he says. And because the U.S. government requires other countries to abide by its banking and financial rules when dealing with expatriates, Americans living abroad are often denied services because of the increasingly complex legalities and logistics involved in serving U.S. customers. Many U.S. expats report being turned away by banks and other institutions in their countries of residence only because they are American, according to American Citizens Abroad (ACA), a Geneva-based worldwide advocacy group for expatriate U.S. citizens.

“We have become toxic citizens,” says ACA founder Andy Sundberg. Paradoxically, by relinquishing their U.S. citizenship, expats can not only escape the financial burden of double taxation, but also strengthen the U.S. economy, he says, adding, “It will become much easier for these people to get a job abroad, and to set up, own and operate private companies that can promote American exports.”

Paris airports closed until Tuesday: PM

Paris airports closed until Tuesday: PM

Most French airports including international hubs Charles de Gaulle and Orly will stay closed until Tuesday morning due to ash from the Icelandic volcano, France’s prime minister said on Sunday.
Francois Fillon said after a government meeting that all airports north of a line between Bordeaux in the southwest and Nice on the south coast would stay closed at least until Tuesday, extending by a day the previous forecast.
“The weather conditions indicate that the situation will still be difficult for several days,” Fillon told reporters.
He added however that airports to the south of the line, such as that of the southwestern city of Biarritz, were operating normally.
“We are going to profit from this situation (in the southwest) to re-route a maximum number of flights via these airports, which will allow us to bring home the greatest possible number of our fellow citizens stuck abroad.”© 2010 AFP

Categories: France, Paris, travel, Uncategorized Tags:

Business Opportunities in Miami: Meetings in Lyon, Grenoble April 21-22


On Wednesday April 21 starting at 9:30am (with events going throughout the day), the CCI de Lyon (Lyon’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry), in coordination with the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Rhône-Alpes Auvergne Chapter will host the Beacon Council (FACC Miami) for a bilingual (English/French) conference and a series of meetings about business and investment opportunities in Miami, Florida.

For more program details and a PDF, click here to be directed to AmCham’s website. Please note the link to mandatory registration through the CCI website.

The World Trade Center of Grenoble (GREX) will also be hosting a similar meeting (working lunch) in Grenoble the following day on Thursday April 22 from 12:30 to 2pm. Registration can be done here.

Volcanic ash from Iceland disrupting Europe flights

According to the Figaro, the ash from the volcano in Iceland that has already canceled fights around the UK has now reached the French shore, with clouds reaching as high as 16km (10 miles). No one is sure how long this could last, especially if subsequent eruptions occur:

Les premières poussières volcaniques islandaises ont atteint la pointe nord de la France jeudi en début de soirée, vers 20 heures. Vendredi matin, le bord de ce gigantesque nuage se trouvait en principe au-dessus du bassin parisien. «On ne pourra pas le voir sur les images satellites quoi qu’il arrive, car ces particules sont trop fines», prévient Eric Mas, chef de l’information chez Meteo Consult. Seule certitude, aucune pluie de haute altitude n’est prévue pour la journée de vendredi, ce qui évitera la retombée massive de ces particules en suspension à plus de 6 kilomètres d’altitude. «On en retrouvera peut-être un peu sur les voitures ou les balcons, mais ce n’est même pas sûr», poursuit-il.

Figaro gives specific flight disruption information for France, with 23 French airports closed until at least 8pm tonight.

The BBC reports on flight delays below. If you have flights planned to the UK, Ireland, certainly Iceland and continental Europe, it is strongly recommended you check with your airline company for up-to-date information:

Nearly all flights across the UK are to remain grounded on Friday, with the air traffic control body Nats having extended its restrictions on UK airspace until at least 0100BST on Saturday.

However, a small number of services will be permitted into and out of Northern Ireland and western Scotland.
Flights out of Frankfurt, Germany’s busiest airport, have been temporarily halted because of the conditions, joining 10 other German airports. Dozens of airports in France and Poland have also been closed.

According to the European airspace controller Eurocontrol, about 17,000 flights are expected to be cancelled on Friday.. Shares fell as investors worried about the impact the problems could have on the airline industry.

InterFrench group meeting tonight April 14 in Paris

Pierre-Jean CHARRA, President of Interfrench, let me know about their event TONIGHT, April 14:

at the Ice Bar of Haagen Dazs, on the Champs Elysees, entrance 41 rue Marbeuf, at the corner with the Champs, from 7 to 11pm.
Louison Ratanga, founder of Bulled’R Management, will hold a conference : From reputation to e-Reputation.
Then we will have our speed meeting from 8 to 10pm and dinner.
Register on the website ASAP to ensure your presence.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

What the Health Care Overhaul Means for Americans Abroad

With the recent passing of the new health care bill in the US, I thought posting this piece from the New York Times was timely:

March 23, 2010, 11:19 AM
What the Health Care Overhaul Means for Americans Abroad
On Monday, Times reporters answered reader questions about how the health care overhaul will affect consumers. But one reader question that remained unanswered was how the legislation will affect Americans abroad. Here’s the answer.

According to Tom Rose, chairman of the Association of Americans Resident Overseas‘ Committee on Social Security and Medicare, the legislation doesn’t have any effect on Americans abroad, except that it exempts them from the penalty for not subscribing to health insurance in the United States. “That is only logical as most Americans abroad have coverage in their country of residence,” Mr. Rose said.

Similarly, the Web site of the American Citizens Abroad organization pointed out that, as of January, neither the House nor Senate bill would tax Americans abroad for not having insurance in the United States, and both “specifically exclude overseas Americans from proposed mandatory U.S. health insurance coverage.”

According to the organization, an earlier version of the Senate health plan would have taxed Americans abroad.

But the group noted on its site that provisions for financing the legislation were “likely to affect Americans overseas, whether they be additional taxes on high incomes or increased deductions for Medicare and Social Security (which would affect American-owned businesses abroad).”

How do you think the legislation will affect Americans living abroad? If you’re an expat, how do you think the legislation may affect you?

SNCF announces new strikes starting April 6

According to Bloomberg News, France and Britain will both experience rail strikes in the coming week. For the British, you can see more details by clicking on the links to the articles. I focus on France here.

Business Week quoted Bloomberg News:

Societe Nationale des Chemins de Fer, or SNCF, plans strikes in April in the third walkout this year at the French railway. The CGT union, SNCF’s biggest, is asking drivers to call attention to demands on wages and working conditions. Freight workers, ticket-sales staff and other workers may join the strike in following days, Severine Leblond, an administrative assistant at the CGT, said today by phone.

New York Times In Transit travel blog:

Planned Rail Strikes in France and Britain
Bloomberg is reporting that in France, the biggest union of the S.N.C.F., the French national railroad, also plans strikes beginning April 6, the third walkout this year to call attention to its demands on wages and working conditions.

The union, the C.G.T., has been joined by the smaller C.F.D.T. labor group in calling on train drivers, a C.G.T. representative said Wednesday. Freight workers and other employees are set to join the strike in following days.

%d bloggers like this: