France recalled its Ambassador to Honduras after the coup on 28 June 2009. A few days after the inauguration of President Lobo and the Ambassador’s return to Tegucigalpa, France encouraged the new Honduran authorities to fully reestablish the rule of law.
During the past fifteen years, bilateral relations between the two countries were marked by the visit of President Jacques Chirac after Hurricane Mitch in 1998. The most recent parliamentary visit was that of Ms Joëlle Garriaud-Maylam, senator for French citizens living abroad, in January 2009. In late April 2013, Mr François Zimeray, then Ambassador for Human Rights, travelled to Honduras during a regional tour of Central America.
Trade between France and Honduras grew by more than 54% in 2014 to reach €120.1 million. In 2014, our exports (€34.6 million) grew by 120%, an excellent performance which is partly due to the entry into force, in late 2013, of the trade component of the European Union-Central America association agreement. (This only partly explains sales of $14 million in the aeronautics industry, but strongly contributed to the 500% increase in French wine sales, which are now sold in local supermarkets). Our imports (€85.5 million) also rose significantly (37.8%).
French firms represented in Honduras include Oberthur Technologies (printing of passports and bank notes), Sanofi, Schneider Electric, Bic and most companies in the fields of cosmetics and luxury goods. In order to revive our trade relations, the Franco-Honduran Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CFHCI), largely inactive since the coup, has been restored to working order with the help of our embassy.
Since an agreement was signed in 1998 on reintroducing French into the Honduran education system, almost half of the French resources dedicated to cooperation with Honduras have been allocated to French language teaching. French cooperation is supported by an active network (Alliances Françaises in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, and the Franco-Honduran Lycée).
France has also cancelled debt of nearly €100 million since 1998 and signed a debt reduction and development contract (C2D) with the Honduran authorities for a little more than €10.5 million, which finances an Education for All fund to improve primary education. Other areas of cooperation include tourism, environmental issues and technical cooperation for defence and internal security (French language teaching and regional training courses for police officers).
The French Embassy in Tegucigalpa has also supported the development of the mobile library run by the Franco-Honduran association Honduras Croissance, which helps to reduce poverty and facilitate the social integration of the poorest, most isolated communities.