France and Argentina

Presentation

Political relations

As a G20 member and OECD candidate, Argentina is one of France’s major partners in Latin America, and accounts for its 13th-largest trade surplus worldwide. Our long-standing, diversified and high-quality relations, especially regarding science and culture, were further strengthened by the French President’s State visit to Argentina in February 2016 and President Macri’s visit to Paris in January 2018.

Visits

  • From France to Argentina: visits to Argentina by Mr Jean-Michel Blanquer, Minister of National Education (13-15 April 2018; Mr Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy and Finance (18-21 March 2018); Mr Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs (10-13 December 2017); Mr Christian Masset, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development (2-4 April 2017, bilateral consultations); Mr Michel Sapin, Minister of the Economy and Finance (30 March 2017); Mr François Hollande, President of the Republic (24-26 February 2016); Mr Jean-Marc Ayrault, Prime Minister (January 2013, with Mr Bernard Cazeneuve, Minister Delegate for European Affairs, and Mr Benoît Hamon, Minister Delegate for the Social and Inclusive Economy and Consumer Affairs).
  • From Argentina to France: visits by Mr Jorge Faurie, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship (3 April 2018); Ms Gabriela Michetti, Vice-President (27 March 2018); working visit by President Mauricio Macri and meeting with President Macron (26 January 2018); meeting between President Hollande and President Macri in Paris (July 2016); working lunch between Mr Ayrault, French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, and his counterpart Ms Malcorra (May 2016); meeting between Mr Manuel Valls, Prime Minister, and President Mauricio Macri at the Davos Forum (January 2016); official visit to France by President Cristina Kirchner (March 2014); visit to France by Mr Amado Boudou, Vice-President of Argentina (November 2012) and Mr Jorge Coscia, Secretary of Culture of Argentina (March 2013).

Economic relations

In 2017, Argentina was our fourth-largest trade partner in Latin America (with 7.6% of our trade flows in the region). Our trade surplus with Argentina stood at €587 million in 2017. In 2018 , France was Argentina’s eighth-largest supplier, mainly exporting technical, electric, electronic and IT equipment (22%), chemicals, perfumes and cosmetics (15%) and transport equipment (41%). For the first time in eight years, a delegation of 32 French businesses visited Argentina in September 2016 under the auspices of MEDEF International.

France ranks second among European investors (foreign direct investment stock of US $3 billion) and some 250 French groups are present or represented – including 27 from the CAC40 – employing some 50,000 people. There is a significant French presence in several sectors: the agrifood industry (Danone, Lesaffre, Louis Dreyfus), the automotive industry (PSA Peugeot Citroën, Renault), hydrocarbon production (Total), retail (Carrefour, Casino), the tourism and hotel industry (Accor), health (Sanofi, Servier, etc.), cosmetics (L’Oréal, Pierre Fabre), and transport (Alstom).

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Cultural cooperation

In this area, our two countries maintain strong relations which were institutionalized by a cooperation agreement signed in 1964 and updated via the signing of a letter of intent in February 2016 as part of the French President’s visit to Argentina. Our cooperation, which remains strong, has in recent years seen celebrations for the 50th anniversary of General de Gaulle’s visit to Argentina (2014), the bicentenary of Argentine independence (2016) and an extensive programme of events. Argentina was also the guest of honour of the Paris Book Fair in March 2014. In Argentina, France has one of the oldest (dating back 125 years) networks of Alliance Française branches, which is also the largest worldwide with 53 centres.

Scientific cooperation

Research and innovation are supported by active public policies (creation in 2007 of a Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation), and France is developing very close scientific cooperation with Argentina (over 100 bilateral research projects, 300 annual visits by French researchers). Our two countries have established partnerships in various areas: ECOS-Sud (researcher mobility), Bernardo Houssay Programme (mobility of young doctoral students) Saint-Exupéry (co-supervised theses), ARFITEC scholarship programme (engineer training), BEC.AR (Masters Scholarships and stays in laboratories for Argentines). They are developing binational research teams. In recent years, four international laboratories, a joint international unit and two French-Argentine centres have been set up. In addition, furthering ties between French and Argentine institutions has led to the signing of new cooperation agreements (mathematics research institutions, civil nuclear cooperation, etc.).

Academic cooperation

Argentina has a vast public university system, which celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2013. Our cooperation, which has long been strong in the social sciences and humanities, also extends to higher technical education and engineering. High-level research centres have been set up.

In 2017, France received 1,000 Argentine students and was the fourth-most-popular destination. The strengthening of mobility flows is part of close and vibrant cooperation: over 700 academic agreements have been concluded, including one on mutual recognition of diplomas between French and Argentine institutions, signed in March 2015. Similarly, among the agreements signed as part of the visit of the President of the Republic to Buenos Aires is a statement of intent regarding higher education in the area of art, culture and innovation (INNOVART programme).

Moreover, Argentina was the first South American State with which France signed a working holiday agreement, which entered into force in 2011.

Decentralized cooperation

Decentralized cooperation has developed since the first Franco-Argentine Forum was held in 2008. The second Decentralized Cooperation Meetings between France and Argentina, in Biarritz and Pau in November 2012, were also a success. A number of active partnerships are underway on issues such as sustainable development, competitiveness clusters, vocational training, territory protection and management, tourism and cultural policy.

Given the strength of this cooperation, a “France-Argentina Dialogue 2018-2019” has been launched in order to develop and highlight innovative projects promoted by France and Argentina in these fields of excellence.

Updated: 25 July 2018