§ Mr. David Watkins
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what effects she expects on British trade with France from the French law which came into operation on 1st January, which requires all commercial transactions with France to be conducted verbally and in writing in French, with heavy fines for non-observance.
§ Mr. Meacher
The law in question came into effect on 4th January, and we understand from the French authorities that it is intended primarily to protect the interest of the French consumer. This is reinforced in a "Note on the wording on the Law of 31st December 1975 relative to the use of the French Language and on its implications for Foreign Suppliers to the French market" which statesIn practice, the law will not cause any upset in the way in which commercial transactions are carried on between foreign manufacturers and French importers. Foreign exporters may in particular continue to correspond and to word documents accompanying a sale (offers, order forms, invoicing, etc. …) in their own language.