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Safran takes a seat at economic roundtable hosted at U.S. Capitol

September 21, 2017

Employing 590,000 people in the United States, French firms such as Safran are collectively the fifth largest foreign employer in America. This observation, by the Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs at the French Embassy, Renaud Lassus, was at the heart of a roundtable discussion this month at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. attended by leading French firms, the French Ambassador to the U.S., and members of Congress from across the country.

Gérard Araud, Renaud Lassus and Peter Lengyel
Participating in the economic forum are (from left to right) Gérard Araud, French Ambassador to the U.S.; Renaud Lassus, Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs at the French Embassy; and Peter Lengyel, President and CEO of Safran USA.

The event, hosted by the Congressional French Caucus, was organized to formally release a report by the Economic Department of the French Embassy that examined the French economic impact in the United States. Representing Safran at the meeting was Peter Lengyel, President and CEO of Safran USA, who was joined by Lorna Donatone, Region Chair for North America, Sodexo. Both leaders gave an overview of their company's activities in the United States. Also in attendance were representatives from other French companies, including Airbus, Air Liquide, Alstom and Michelin.

"Our report shows that the French-U.S. economic relationship is both deep, balanced and mutually beneficial, with a total of $110 billion annual trade and over one million jobs across the Atlantic," said the French Embassy's Lassus.

Senator John Boozman of Arkansas said he recognized the strong contribution of French manufacturing in Arkansas, while Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina noted that French companies are the second largest foreign employer in his state. Both states are home to Safran operations.

Safran in the U.S.

Remarking on Safran's role in this international relationship, Lengyel said his company "has nearly half a century of committed operations as a leading manufacturer, supplier and partner in the U.S. aerospace and defense sectors," noting that Safran had "expanded our U.S. footprint steadily over the years, enabling us to create American jobs, develop our workforce, and bring cutting-edge technologies to our customers."

Lorna Donatone and Peter Lengyel
Lorna Donatone, Region Chair for North America, Sodexo; and Safran USA President and CEO Peter Lengyel talk at the economic roundtable event.

Representing approximately a quarter of the Group's revenue, the U.S. is a key market for Safran, added Lengyel. He listed examples of successful partnerships within the United States, such as the Safran Aerospace Composites facility in Rochester, New Hampshire, that produces fan cases and fan blades for CFM International's LEAP jet engine, and the fact that Safran supports the Army's Lakota helicopter program with engines, electrical power management systems and avionics.

Representative Ro Khanna of California – a state that hosts several Safran operations – highlighted the role of French innovation in high-tech Silicon Valley, remarking that French companies fund approximately 12 percent of foreign research and development in the U.S., making France the world's second largest source of manufacturing R&D in the United States.

"The economic partnership between France and the United States is a key pillar of the unbreakable friendship between our nations," said French Ambassador Gérard Araud, as he called for even deeper ties between the two countries in the years to come.

The report and an interactive map of French-U.S. economic ties can be found here.

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