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France’s economic minister’s priority is private investment
French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron waves as he leaves after a visit to a shopping center on the first day of the winter sales in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. The five-week 2016 winter sales start everywhere across France on Wednesday jan.6 and end on Feb. 16. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

France’s economic minister’s priority is private investment

SAN FRANCISCO — France’s economic minister says his top priority in 2016 is to woo private investment to a country that is producing 1,500 new startups each year.

Emmanuel Macron said in an interview with the Associated Press on Friday that the country will do more to provide certainty to investors and “reduce the cost of failure.”

France is notorious for stringent workplace protections that some say stifle innovation.

The 38-year-old Macron is known for championing an economic reform bill that, among other things, allows stores to open 12 times a year on Sunday instead of five and lets stores expand evening hours.

He said the government plans further reforms to make it easier for companies to restructure or lay off workers.

Macron is in Northern California meeting with investors and technology executives to talk up French tech.