France and Argentina

Presentation

Political relations

As a G20 member and OECD candidate, Argentina is one of France’s major partners in Latin America, and accounts for its 13th largest trade surplus worldwide. Our historical, diversified and high-quality relations, especially regarding science and culture, were further strengthened by the President of the French Republic’s State visit to Argentina in February 2016.

Visits

  • From France to Argentina: visit to Argentina by Mr François Hollande, President of the Republic (24-26 February 2016), Mr Jean-Marc Ayrault, Prime Minister, in January 2013 (with Mr Bernard Cazeneuve, Minister Delegate for European Affairs and Mr Benoît Hamon, Minister Delegate for the Social and Cooperative Economy and Consumer Affairs); Ms Yamina Benguigui, Minister Delegate for Francophony (May 2013); Ms Valérie Fourneyron, Minister for Sport, Youth, Lifelong Education and Voluntary Organizations (September 2013).
  • From Argentina to France: meeting between President Hollande and President Macri in Paris (July 2016); working lunch between Mr Ayrault, French Minister of Foreign Affairs, and his counterpart Ms Malcorra (May 2016); meeting between Mr Manuel Valls, Prime Minister, and President Mauricio Macri at the Davos Forum (January 2016); official visit to France by President Cristina Kirchner (March 2014); visit to France by Mr Amado Boudou, Vice President of Argentina (November 2012) and Mr Jorge Coscia, Secretary of Culture of Argentina (March 2013); bilateral meeting between President Kirchner and President Hollande alongside the Los Cabos Summit (19 June 2012); meeting between President Kirchner and President Hollande during her visit to Paris in September 2011.

Economic relations

In 2015, Argentina was France’s third-largest trade partner in Latin America (with 7.6% of French trade flows in the region). France’s trade surplus has been increasing since 2008 and reached record levels in 2015 (€854 million, making it France’s 13th-largest trade surplus worldwide). In 2015, France was Argentina’s seventh-largest supplier, mainly exporting technical, electric, electronic and IT equipment (25%), chemicals, perfumes and cosmetics (23%) and transport materials (22%). Pharmaceuticals saw an increase of 44% in 2015. For the first time in eight years, a delegation of 32 French companies travelled to Argentina in September 2016 under the auspices of Medef International.

France ranks ninth among foreign investors in Argentina and fourth among European investors (FDI stock of €3.8 billion in 2015) and some 250 French groups are set up or represented - including 27 from the CAC40 - employing some 50,000 people. There is a significant French presence in several sectors: the agrifood industry (Danone, Lesaffre, Louis Dreyfus), the automotive industry (PSA Peugeot Citroën, Renault), oil production (Total), distribution (Carrefour, Casino), the tourism and hotel industry (Accor), health (Sanofi Aventis, Servier, etc.), cosmetics (L’Oréal, Pierre Fabre), and transport (Alstom).

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Cultural cooperation

In this area, our two countries maintain strong relations which were institutionalized by a cooperation agreement signed in 1964 and updated via the signing of a letter of intent in February 2016 as part of the visit of the President of the French Republic to Argentina. Our cooperation, which remains strong, has in recent years seen celebrations for the 50th anniversary of General de Gaulle’s visit to Argentina (2014), the bicentenary of Argentinian independence (2016) and an extensive programme of events. Argentina was also the guest of honour of the Paris Book Fair in March 2014. In Argentina, France has a network of some of the oldest (dating back 120 years) Alliance française teaching centres, which is also the largest worldwide with 53 establishments.

Scientific cooperation

While research and innovation are supported by active public policies (creation in 2007 of a Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation), France is developing very close scientific cooperation with Argentina (over 100 bilateral research projects, 300 annual missions conducted by French researchers). Our two countries have established partnerships in various areas: ECOS-Sud committee (researcher mobility), Bernardo Houssay Programme (mobility of young doctoral students) Saint-Exupéry (co-supervised theses), ARFITEC scholarship programme (engineer training), BEC.AR (Masters Scholarships and stays in laboratories for Argentinians). They are developing binational research teams. In recent years, four international laboratories, a joint international unit and two French-Argentinian centres have been set up. In addition, furthering the bringing closer together of French and Argentinian institutions has led to the signing of new cooperation agreements (mathematics research institutions, civil nuclear cooperation, etc.).

Academic cooperation

Argentina has a vast public university system, which celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2013. Our cooperation, which has developed for a long time in the social sciences and humanities, also extends to higher technical education and engineering. High-level research centres have been set up.

In 2015, France welcomed 803 Argentinian students (fourth-largest host country). The strengthening of mobility flows (up 30% compared to 2014) is part of close and vibrant cooperation: over 350 academic agreements, including an agreement on mutual recognition of diplomas between French and Argentinian institutions, signed in March 2015. Similarly, among the agreements signed as part of the visit of the President of the Republic to Buenos Aires is a statement of intent regarding higher education in the area of art, culture and innovation.

Moreover, Argentina was the first South American State with which France signed a working holiday agreement, which entered into force in 2011.

Decentralized cooperation

Decentralized cooperation has developed since the first Franco-Argentine Forum was held in 2008. The 2nd Decentralized Cooperation Meeting between France and Argentina, which took place in Biarritz and Pau in November 2012, has also been a success. A number of active partnerships are underway on issues such as sustainable development, competitiveness clusters, vocational training, territory protection and management, tourism and cultural policy.

Updated: 17 July 2017

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