France and Bangladesh

Political relations

Bilateral relations between Bangladesh and France grew in the 1980s in relation to the visit by President Mitterrand in 1990 and the French proposal of a flood prevention infrastructure programme. The Prime Minister at the time, Sheikh Hasina, visited France in 1999.

Since then, regular high-level visits have enabled this political dialogue to continue. The Bangladesh Minister of Foreign Affairs visited France in June 2015, then again in October 2016 where he met with the French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development.

The French Minister of Foreign Affairs visited Bangladesh on 21 September 2015 with his German counterpart, Mr Walter Steinmeier, a visit which saw them open the site of the first Franco-German co-located embassy in the world. Falling during the preparation phase of the COP21, this joint visit also aimed to provide France’s support to Bangladesh, a country that is particularly exposed to climate risks (rising sea levels could claim up to a third of its territory).

Economic relations

In 2016, trade between France and Bangladesh totalled €2.689 billion with a significant trade deficit for France of €2.2bn. Exports to Bangladesh fell 34.7% compared with 2015 due to the drop in sales of agricultural products and currently stand at €189 million, while France’s imports increased by over 40% over two year reaching €2.5 billlion. Clothing accounts for the vast majority of imports from Bangladesh due to the European Union’s Everything But Arms initiative.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Our cooperation policy with Bangladesh is governed by a cultural cooperation agreement signed on 10 March 1987. It is based most notably on two recognised and long-standing Alliance Française branches in Chittagong and Dacca. The Alliances Française branches in Bangladesh work in partnership with the Goethe Institute.

In 1991, France wrote off Bangladesh’s public debt (598 million French francs). The French Development Agency (AFD) has been working in Bangladesh since 2012 as part of a mandate to promote “green and inclusive growth”. The AFD therefore works in urban development infrastructures, green energy and improving safety standards and environmental and social performance in the textiles industry. These commitments total €367 million.

Further information can be found on the websites of the French Embassy in Bangladesh and the Alliance française in Dhaka.

Updated: 11.07.17