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France: Foreign Casino Investors Need Not Apply 2006-01-11
On New Year�s Eve, the French government quietly announced a list of industries that, because they are considered to be critical to national interests, will not be open to investment by predominantly non- French companies.
The list ranges from predictable industries such as anti- terrorist biotechnologies to the somewhat puzzling casino industry. Other protected industries include yogurt-makers, champagne producers, and corporate security providers.
When queried, French officials told media sources that they included casinos on the list because they could potentially serve as money laundering venues that could finance terrorism.
French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin first promised to draw up a list of protected industries last summer, to the delight of French trade unions and other economic protectionists and �patriots.�
French analysts said that many countries have lists of industries that are not open to foreign investment. The United States, for example, reserves the right to exclude foreign companies from any activities determined by the President to touch on �national security issues.�
Officials from the European Union said that they would review the new French law to see if it violates EU agreements on free trade.
(By Keren)