France and Bangladesh

Political relations

Bilateral relations in the late 1980s and early 1990s enjoyed a boost following the visit by President Mitterrand in 1990 and French proposals for a flood prevention programme. Sheikh Hasina, then Prime Minister of Bangladesh, visited France in 1999.

Regular high-level visits since then have firmly established this political dialogue. The Bangladeshi Minister of Foreign Affairs visited France in June 2015 and again in October 2016, each time holding talks with the French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, among other people.

The French Minister of Foreign Affairs visited Bangladesh on 21 September 2015 with his German counterpart, Mr Walter Steinmeier, to open the first co-located Franco-German Embassy in the world. The joint visit was also aimed at providing French support to Bangladesh as part of preparations for COP21, as Bangladesh is particularly vulnerable to climate-related risks (it could lose up to one third of its territory due to rising sea levels).

Further information can be found on the French Embassy in Bangladesh website.

Economic relations

In 2015, trade between France and Bangladesh totalled €2.423 billion, up by over 30 % compared to 2014. Our imports increased by 25.1 % to reach €2.1 billion, while our exports increased by 91 %, attaining an all-time high of €289 million. Clothing makes up the bulk of our imports from Bangladesh, benefiting from the EU’s “Everything But Arms” arrangement.

There are French companies established in Bangladesh. Sanofi in particular has a long-standing presence as Rhône-Poulenc was already set up in the country before independence. The Sanofi plant currently employs 1,000 people. It is the largest foreign investment in the local pharmaceutical industry. Furthermore, the Lafarge group has had a cement works in Bangladesh since 1975 and Totalgaz is today one of the leading private LPG suppliers in the country.

Further information can be found on the DGT website (in French).

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Our cooperation policy with Bangladesh is part of a cultural cooperation agreement signed on 10 March 1987. It relies in particular on the two Alliances françaises in Chittagong and Dhaka, which are renowned, long-standing establishments. The Alliances françaises in Bangladesh are working in partnership with the Goethe Institute.

In 1991, France wrote off 598 million French francs of Bangladesh government debt. In June 2009 the Interministerial Committee on International Cooperation and Development (CICID) authorized the French Development Agency (AFD) to canvass in Bangladesh as part of a mandate to promote “green and inclusive growth” (CVS). The AFD is thus active in urban development infrastructures, green energy and improving safety standards and environmental and social performance in the textile industry.

Further information can be found on the websites of the French Embassy in Bangladesh and the Alliance française in Dhaka.

Updated: 8 February 2017