Companions in Competitiveness

How France and the United States Can Help Each Other Succeed in the Twenty-first Century

The Atlantic Council’s Transatlantic Relations Program’s new report, Companions in Competitiveness: How France and the United States Can Help Each Other Succeed in the Twenty-first Century, examines the factors needed for the two allies to thrive the globalized world of the twenty-first century and prospects for cooperation to seize emerging opportunities.

pdfRead the Report (PDF)

Although the United States and France currently rank among the most competitive countries in the world, both have seen their position decline in recent years. Preventing a further decrease in competitiveness during this period of global economic stagnancy will be a central challenge, one that can be tackled more successfully if both countries learn from each other. The report finds that France and the United States present exceptionally complementary competitiveness profiles. Based on the rankings of the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report, France outclasses the United States on the “fundamental factors” required to achieve and sustain competitiveness, including healthcare, primary education, the functioning of institutions, and the quality of infrastructure. The United States surpasses France on the “dynamic factors” that support competitive performance, including labor and goods market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, and innovation.

To address these complementary competitiveness strengths and weaknesses, the report sets out a series of initiatives focused on making competitiveness an important issue in the US-France relationship, including through national competitiveness plans, regular high-level government meetings, summits of corporate and civil society leaders, and the creation of a robust French-US student program. These steps, the author argues, would help France and the United States seize opportunities and pave the way for their success and leadership together in the twenty-first century, as in the last.

Related Experts: Nicholas Dungan