PARIS — The state of health of French fashion’s savoir faire is under analysis by the government. A report by French senator Catherine Dumas tabled Monday at the Hôtel de Matignon here recommends how to preserve and develop the country’s artisans.

This story first appeared in the October 20, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Among 20 proposals are the launch of a national campaign to promote France’s métier d’arts; the creation of a certification system guaranteeing methods of fabrication on products, and the creation of a ministerial department dedicated to a sector which in 2004 generated global sales of around 7.8 billion euros, or $9.7 billion at average exchange for the period, and involved some 37,000 small firms.

The indirect contribution of artisan firms to France’s economy, as the “essence” of its luxury sector, is far more significant, the report states. France boasts the world’s fourth biggest luxury goods market, representing sales of some 22.4 billion euros, or $33.4 billion at current exchange, of which 82 percent is exported.

Other priorities outlined in the report, meanwhile, include combatting counterfeit goods; introducing “favorable” tax reductions for firms in the savoir faire sector, and recruiting and training “tomorrow’s artisans.” The sector today suffers from a general “disaffection for manual trades,” the report laments.

Elisabeth Ponsolle des Portes, chief executive of luxury goods group Comité Colbert, applauded the move as “encouraging” and described establishing “dynamic export channels” for France’s savoir faire as paramount.

Comité Colbert represents 70 members of France’s luxury industry spanning from chocolate to high jewelry. These include Hermès, Baccarat, Cartier, Chanel and Longchamp.

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