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France and Pakistan

Political relations

Since Prime Minister Gilani’s visit to Paris in 2011, our bilateral dialogue has been based around three joint committees, relating to the three texts signed during this visit:

- a joint political statement setting out the main lines of our partnership; It provides for regular consultations between the Secretaries General of the French and Pakistani Foreign Ministries, the latest of which was held in July 2012;

- a joint statement on security cooperation, providing for annual discussions within the framework of joint security committees. The third meeting was held in Paris in January 2014;

  • a joint statement on an economic and trading partnership, enabling regular discussions within the framework of joint committees, co-chaired by the Directorate-General of the Treasury. The first took place in Paris in 2013. The 2nd committee session was held in Paris on 16 March 2015. The first trip to Paris of a delegation of Pakistani business leaders in June 2014 was a great success.

Visits and high-level bilateral contacts

• 1-2 January 2008: visit to Pakistan by the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Bernard Kouchner. Meeting with the President, Pervez Musharraf, Prime Minister Soomro and his counterpart, Inam-ul-Haq;
• 22 January 2008: visit to France by President Pervez Musharraf;
• 13 June 2008: meeting in Paris between the Pakistani Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and the French Foreign Minister;
• 15 May 2009: visits to Paris by President Zardari and General Kayani (18 May);
• 23-24 July 2009: visit to Pakistan by Anne-Marie Idrac, Minister of State for Foreign Trade;
• August 2010: visit to Paris by President Zardari;
• September 2010: meeting in Paris between Finance Minister, Mr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, and Mr Bernard Kouchner;
• May 2011: visit to France by Mr Youssouf Raza Gilani, Prime Minister
• December 2012: Visit to Paris by President Zardari;
• March 2014: Meeting between the President of the French Republic and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in The Hague.

Website of the French Embassy in Pakistan

Economic relations

In the 2014 calendar year, the volume of bilateral trade between France and Pakistan once again exceeded €1 billion (€1.13 billion), compared to €991 million for the previous year, comprised of €434 million in exports and €695 million in imports. Both our exports and imports are increasing, the latter partly because of the granting of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP+) trading facility by the European Union in 2014. Pakistan is our 76th-largest customer (in 2014 it received the equivalent of 0.1% of our exports), and our second-largest trading partner in South Asia in terms of exports, receiving 11.9% of our exports to that region. Our exports have increased by 11.6% compared to 2013 due to strong sales, including of engines and turbines. They remain dominated (over 50%) by aircraft and spacecraft, followed by dairy products and measuring, testing and navigational instruments. Over 80% of our imports, which are up 14.3 % on last year, are textiles.

Pakistan is our second-largest trading partner in South Asia, receiving 11.5% of our exports to South Asia. As the destination for over 2% of Pakistan’s exports, France was Pakistan’s 10th largest customer in 2014, and the 5th largest among EU countries.

Forty-four French companies are set up in Pakistan, including 15 CAC40-listed companies in key sectors for the Pakistani economy (energy, transport, construction, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, services). Most are linked with major French multinationals like GDF-Suez and Lafarge. Several investment projects are underway, mainly in the energy sector. Over 185 French companies are members of the “Pakistan-France Business Alliance”.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Our action in Pakistan is in line with the priorities set out by the Pakistani government (security, specific aid for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), human resources development, education and health). It is implemented using two tools: bilateral cooperation, and actions carried out by the French Development Agency and the Ministry for the Economy, Industry and Employment.

Bilateral aid in cooperation and cultural action has two main targets:

  • to support the Pakistani government’s academic policy
  • to consolidate our outreach policy in the area of social sciences, cultural relations, governance and archaeology.

Our academic cooperation is mainly aimed at master’s, thesis or postdoctoral students, within the framework of three co-funded scholarship programmes: the “Master leading to PhD” programme, the results of which are encouraging (85 students in 2015, compared to about a dozen in previous years); the “Split PhD” programme aimed at thesis students; the “post-doc” programme aimed at Pakistani researchers. Furthermore, our cooperation is aimed at supporting joint projects between French and Pakistani research laboratories (“Hubert Curien Péridot partnerships” launched in September 2014). Moreover, since 2012, France has been financing a scholarship scheme for academic excellence for eligible Pakistani university students from disadvantaged backgrounds (500 young people were accepted into this programme between 2012 and 2014).

The spread of the French language and culture is based on a network of three Alliances françaises (Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad).

Other types of cooperation

Security cooperation focuses on training to tackle armed extremism, document fraud, crime-scene management and protecting public figures.

Defence cooperation with Pakistan entails training military elites, and exchanging and transferring expertise in areas linked to counter-insurgency.

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