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France and Pakistan

Political relations

Since Prime Minister Gilani’s visit to Paris in 2011, our bilateral dialogue has been structured around three joint committees, linked 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 most recent of which was held in Paris on 3May2016.
  • A joint statement on security cooperation, providing for annual discussions within the framework of joint security committees. The fourth meeting was held in Islamabad in March2016.
  • A joint statement on economic and trade partnership, which provides for joint committee meetings co-chaired by the Directorate-General of the Treasury. The most recent committee meeting was held in Paris on 16March2015. The first visit of a delegation of Pakistani business leaders to Paris in June 2014 was a great success.

Visits and high-level bilateral contacts

  • 1-2January2008: 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.
  • 22January2008: visit to France by President Pervez Musharraf.
  • 13June2008: meeting in Paris between the Pakistani Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and the French Foreign Minister.
  • 15May2009: visits to Paris by President Zardari and General Kayani (18May).
  • 23-24July2009: visit to Pakistan by Anne-Marie Idrac, Minister of State for Foreign Trade.
  • August2010: visit to Paris by President Zardari.
  • September2010: meeting in Paris between the Pakistani Finance Minister, MrAbdul Hafeez Shaikh, and MrBernard Kouchner.
  • May2011: visit to France by MrYoussouf Raza Gilani, Prime Minister.
  • December2012: visit to Paris by President Zardari.
  • March2014: meeting between the President of the French Republic and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in The Hague.
  • November2015: meeting between the President of the French Republic and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif alongside the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta.
  • May2016: visit to Paris by the Pakistani Foreign Secretary, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry.

Website of the French Embassy in Pakistan

Economic relations

In 2015, bilateral trade totalled €1.1billion. It exceeded €1billion for the second consecutive year, with exports of €385million and imports of €738million. Pakistan is our 78th-largest customer, accounting for 0.01% of our exports in2015, and our third-largest trading partner for exports to South Asia, accounting for 8.1% of our exports to that region, after India and SriLanka. The decline in our exports (€385million compared with €434million in 2014) is due to the sharp drop in aircraft and spacecraft exports, which represented our primary export sector in 2014 and now rank twelfth. Our main exports are now pharmaceutical products. Our imports are growing at a record rate: they rose by 5% in one year to €738million. This growth is almost entirely due to the rise in textile sales, which in turn have been boosted by the EU decision to grant Pakistan trade preferences under the GSP+ arrangement in 2014.

As the destination for 2.1% of Pakistan’s exports, France was Pakistan’s 12th-largest customer in 2015, and the 6th-largest among EU countries.

Forty-four French companies are set up in Pakistan, including 15 CAC40-listed companies in key sectors of the Pakistani economy (energy, transport, public works and civil engineering, environment, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, services). Most are linked with major French groups such as 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 the action carried out by the AFD (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 academic policy of the Pakistani government;
  • to consolidate our outreach policy in the cultural and linguistic field, social sciences, governance and archaeology. Our academic cooperation is mainly aimed at master’s, PhD and postdoctoral students, within the framework of three co-funded scholarship programmes: the “Ms leading to PhD” programme, which has shown encouraging results (96scholarship holders in 2015, compared to about a dozen in previous years); the “Split PhD” programme for PhD students; and the “post-doc” programme for Pakistani researchers. Our cooperation is also aimed at supporting joint projects led by French and Pakistani research laboratories (Hubert Curien Partnership “Péridot”, launched in September 2014).In addition, since 2012, France has been financing a scholarship scheme for academic excellence for deserving Pakistani students from disadvantaged backgrounds (500young people benefited from this programme between 2012 and 2014).

French language and culture is promoted through a network of three Alliance française branches (Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad).

Other cooperation

Security cooperation focuses on training to tackle document fraud, illegal immigration, terrorism and drug trafficking.

Defence cooperation with Pakistan focuses on elite military training, the exchange and transfer of expertise in areas linked to counter-insurgency, and French-language teaching in the military sphere.

Updated: 17/05/2016