France and Peru

Political relations

Franco-Peruvian relations have particularly developed during the term of President Humala, who is a French speaker and a Francophile. His official visit to France from 14 to 16 November 2012 revitalized our bilateral cooperation in the academic, institutional, judicial, economic and commercial fields. Mr Humala was received again by the President of the French Republic in Paris on 9 October 2013, then 1 July 2014.

The Peruvian Presidency of COP20 (December 2014-November 2015) and the French Presidency of COP21 (December 2015-November 2016) were a chance to develop close bilateral consultations on environmental protection and combating climate change. A high-level French delegation (Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, Minister of State for Development and Francophonie) attended the twentieth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP20) in Lima in December 2014. France was also strongly represented at the Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Lima, in October 2015, by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, the Minister of Finance and Public Accounts, and the Minister of State for Development and Francophonie. On 30 November 2015 in Paris, President Humala attended the opening ceremony of COP21 alongside President Hollande, during which the Peruvian Minister of Environment, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, acted as a facilitator.

Economic relations

With direct trade of around €554 million in 2014 (€510 million in 2013), France is Peru’s 23rd-largest customer and its 21st-largest supplier. Peru, meanwhile, is France’s 80th-largest customer and the 65th-largest supplier.

While the volume of bilateral trade increased slightly between 2013 and 2014 (+8.5%), our structural deficit rose by more than 50% over the same period, from €100 million to €150 million.

After a marked increase in French exports to Peru in 2012 (+34%, €235 million), there has been a downward trend since 2013 (-12.8%, €205.3 million in 2013 and -1.6%, €202 million in 2014). The main categories of products exported are industrial and agricultural machines, which account for 21% of the total (-30.8% compared to 2013), chemicals, perfumes and cosmetics (16.4% of the total, +26.5%) and electrical and household equipment (13.6%, -2.7%). According to Peruvian figures, in 2014, nine companies in Peru accounted for over a quarter of purchases of French products. Two of these were branches of French companies: Schneider Electric ($14.1 million) and Sanofi-Aventis ($12 million).

Meanwhile, French imports from Peru (mainly agrifood, agriculture and fishery products) started to rise again in 2014, after falling for two years (+15%, €352 million).

The 84 French subsidiaries registered locally, which are mainly situated in Lima, employ over 15,000 people and generate turnover of around $2 billion. These are mainly subsidiaries of major groups: half of the CAC 40 companies are present and several others are interested (EDF, Cap Gemini and Air Liquide), while others have distributors (Renault) or representatives (Société Générale) in Peru.

The space industry was given strong impetus in 2014, with the signing of an intergovernmental agreement on the purchase of an earth observation satellite (Airbus Defense & Space) in April.

According to ProInversión, the Peruvian agency for the promotion of private investment, French FDI in Peru totals $220.5 million, or about 1% of the total stock, making France the 15th-largest foreign investor and the 5th-largest among EU countries, far behind Spain and the United Kingdom (which rank first and second, according to the official figures). However, these figures are misleading because they only take into account the investments declared by businesses and the direct origin of the investment flows. As a result, despite major investments by Perenco (counted as the United Kingdom) and GDF Suez (Belgium), France is not officially linked to any investment flows in the energy sector in Peru. In addition, once again, businesses are reluctant to invest directly from France because there is no double taxation agreement.

The Agence Française de Développement (French development agency, AFD) has been active in Peru since March 2013; for the moment, its commitments comprise a loan of $150 million to the Peruvian Ministry of Economy and Finance to fund Line 2 of the Lima metro and a non-sovereign loan of €120 million to the social housing bank Mi Vivienda.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

University partnerships and student mobility

There is significant cooperation in the field of academic and research exchanges. Around one thousand Peruvians are studying in France, which makes them the third-largest South American contingent in our country, after those of Brazil and Colombia. More generally, France ranks as the fifth most popular host country (and the third in Europe), with over 900 students of Peruvian origin enrolled in French establishments, after Spain (3,500), the United States (2,400), Italy (1,900) and Cuba (1,100). Half of those that come to France are Bachelor’s students (48%), 40% are Master’s students and 2% are PhD students (FLE [French as a foreign language] scholarships account for the remaining 10%).

France is one of the European countries selected by President Humala to host scholarship holders through the “Beca Presidente de la Republica” scheme, which was set up to support outstanding middle-class students (7 Master’s and PhD students in 2015). On a larger scale, since 2013 French university institutes of technology (IUTs) and universities have hosted 109 Peruvian scholarship holders from underprivileged backgrounds for a three-year Bachelor’s programme, through the “Becas 18 Excelencia Internacional Francia” scheme (13 students in 2013, 13 in 2014 and 83 in 2015), thanks to funding from PRONABEC, the Peruvian national programme for educational scholarships and loans. The 2016 selection process is underway and should see a further 100 scholarship holders selected for September 2016. In addition, Campus France and PRONABEC are negotiating the possibility of enabling these scholarship holders to stay for an additional two years in France and thus reach Master’s level (fully funded by PRONABEC).

There are currently around 150 inter-university agreements between France and Peru, including around thirty particularly active partnerships and around fifteen dual degree programmes in the fields of management, engineering sciences and French as a foreign language. In the field of hospitality and catering, French expertise is promoted through schools such as those of Paul Bocuse, Lenôtre and Le Cordon Bleu Peru. New environmental cooperation projects were launched in 2015 to establish university courses (first at Master’s level, then at PhD level from 2016), particularly in the fields of renewable energy and marine biology.

Our regional cooperation is based on PREFALC, the France-Latin America and the Caribbean programme, which seeks to promote Master’s courses by linking a French university with at least two Latin American universities. Since its creation in 2002, PREFALC has enabled the co-financing of 26 projects linking establishments in France, Peru and other countries in the region, including 7 projects that were directly coordinated by a Peruvian university.

Developing partnerships at PhD level is a priority. In 2012, an initial step was taken with the creation of the Franco-Peruvian graduate school of life sciences, which links three Peruvian universities, CONCYTEC (the Peruvian national council of science, technology and technological innovation), IRD (the French institute of research for development), the French Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research and the French Embassy in Peru. Between 2012 and 2015, 10 joint PhD scholarships were co-funded in this way.


In 2013, PROPARCO, a subsidiary of AFD, granted a loan of $25 million to the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP) to support its policy of social inclusion and internationalization, and the modernization of its campus.

Research institutes

In partnership with the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, the IFEA (French institute of Andean studies), which is the only French multi-disciplinary centre (social and human sciences, archaeology) that is regionally-oriented, is present in four Latin American countries: Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia.
There were 32 expatriate researchers at the IRD in Peru in 2013, divided among universities, public institutions and private bodies. The IRD has set up three International Joint Laboratories (IJLs): DISCOH (Humboldt Current System dynamics) with IMARPE (Peruvian institute of the sea); EDIA (evolution and domestication of Amazonian ichthyofauna) with IIAP (Peruvian Amazonia research institute) and LAVI (Andean-Amazonian biochemistry laboratory) with UPCH (Cayetano Heredria university of Peru). Five other laboratories were recently set up with groups of Peruvian researchers.

In June 2011, the IdA (French institute of the Americas) opened a satellite in Lima.

The action of outstanding French NGOs, such as AVSF, is contributing to the development of the poorest rural areas.

Updated: 05/01/2016