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 3 May 2016.
- 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 March 2016.
- 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 16 March 2015. 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
- 1-2 January 2008: visit to Pakistan by the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Mr 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 the Pakistani 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.
- November 2015: meeting between the President of the French Republic and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif alongside the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta.
- May 2016: visit to Paris by the Pakistani Foreign Secretary, Mr Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry.
- September 2016: visit to France by the Minister of Finance, Mr Mohammad Ishaq Dar. Meeting with his French counterpart, Mr Michel Sapin, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Mr Jean-Marc Ayrault.
In 2015, bilateral trade totalled €1.1 billion. It exceeded €1 billion for the fifth year running, with exports of €385 million and imports of €738 million. Pakistan is our 78ᵗʰ-largest customer, accounting for 0.01% of our exports in 2015, and our third-largest trading partner for exports to South Asia, accounting for 8.1% of our exports to that region, after India and Sri Lanka. The decline in our exports (€385 million compared with €434 million 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 €738 million. 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 present in Pakistan in key sectors of the local economy (energy, transport, public works and civil engineering, environment, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, services). Most are linked with major French groups such as Engie and Lafarge. Several investment projects are underway, mainly in the energy sector. Over 185 French companies are members of the Pakistan-France Business Alliance.
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 Agence Française de Développement (AFD, French Development Agency) which committed €265 million for 2016.
Bilateral aid in cooperation and cultural action has two main aims:
- 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 (96 scholarship 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 (500 young 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).
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.