France and Philippines

France and the Philippines

Political relations

High-level visits have taken place on both sides over the recent period, which marked an important step for the development of bilateral trade: visit by the President of the French Republic to the Philippines (26-27 February 2015), visit by President Benigno Aquino to Paris from 17 to 19September 2014 (25 years after the visit of his mother, President Corazon Aquino, who was guest of honour of President Mitterrand during the commemorations of the bicentenary of the French Revolution in 1989), and visit by the Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault to Manila and Cebu in October 2012 (the first visit by a head of the French government to the Philippines).

Jejomar Binay, the Vice President of the Philippines, also visited France in 2013, as well as the Filipino Ministers of Foreign Affairs (2013), Finance (2013), and Trade and Industry (2014 and 2015).

Economic relations

Our trade fell significantly in 2015 to €1.4 billion (compared to €2.3 billion in 2014), with a very substantial drop in French exports to €839million (against €1.895 billion in 2014), and imports from the Philippines slightly increasing to €602 million (€469 million in 2014).

These results underline the dependence of our bilateral trade on aviation sales, which account for 76% of our exports to the Philippines. Outside that sector, our main export items are agri-food products, electronic components, pharmaceuticals and steel structures. Around a hundred French companies are present in the Philippines, including Lafarge, Matiere and Eiffage Metal, and Total. The French investment stock was €729 million in 2013.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation, and development assistance

Cultural cooperation

Our relationship is experiencing significant developments in the area of cultural exchanges. Following the success of the exhibition “Philippines: an Archipelago of Exchange” organized at the Quai Branly Museum in 2013, an administrative arrangement in the field of culture was signed on the occasion of President Aquino’s visit to France. This Arrangement established a three-year work programme (2014-2017) which provides for joint actions, including artistic training, performing arts and heritage preservation.

We also maintain close cooperation in the field of cinema, in particular with the film director Brillante Mendoza.

University and research cooperation

Our efforts have also focused as a matter of priority on developing university exchanges, including the establishment and strengthening of learning partnerships (mainly in applied and engineering sciences, and maths) with the Ateneo de Manila University, the National University of the Philippines and the Asian Institute of Management, as well as support for the teaching of French (the first European language taught at university after English).

Cooperation actions have also been initiated, both in research (rural development, promotion of biodiversity, volcanology, aquaculture), public health, technical training (naval and aeronautics training) and support for strengthening the rule of law.

Development assistance

The French Development Agency (AFD) has been operating in the Philippines since 2010, under a “green growth and solidarity” mandate. So far, the AFD has committed more than €360million in loans, including for a local government capacity-building project and to create a line of clean experimental buses in Cebu City, the country’s second-largest city.

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Updated: 23/06/2016