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PARIS: France will spend 8.4 billion euros ($8.67 billion) to help companies pay their energy bills, in a bid to cushion the impact of rising electricity and gas prices and help them compete with German businesses, its finance minister said on Saturday.

France will cut a special tax on electricity to the minimum allowed under EU rules and allow companies to tap a special mechanism to receive cheap nuclear-derived power. Small businesses will also benefit from the energy price caps already in place for households.

“(French) companies will be protected as well as German companies are,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told France Inter radio.

“We will also make sure that EU competition rules apply to all companies, whether they are Italian, Spanish, French or German,” he said.

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