France and Bhutan

Presentation

Like the other P5 countries, France has no representation in Bhutan and no diplomatic relations with the country. Issues regarding Bhutan are thus mainly handled by the French Embassy in India. A French international expert was seconded to the Royal University of Bhutan from 2013 to 2015 to work in the fields of rural development, business promotion and communication, and consular issues are handled by the French Consulate General in Calcutta (India). Bhutan’s Prime Minister visited France from 27 to 29 March 2017 to take part in a Global Environment Facility meeting.

There are limited economic and trade relations: Bhutan ranks as France’s 213th-largest customer and 186nd-largest supplier. 90% of France’s exports to Bhutan consist of capital goods and transport equipment, while its imports are mainly metal products. In addition, tourism dominates French-Bhutanese trade in services with nearly 57,500 French tourists visiting Bhutan in 2015.

From October 2009 to January 2010, an exhibition on the Sacred Arts of Bhutan was held at the Musée Guimet. This first ever exhibition in the West featured works that had never been seen outside the country.

Diplomatic relations between Bhutan and the European Union were set up in 1985. The competent authority is the Delegation of the European Union to India and Bhutan. Since 2004, there have been consultations every two years; the most recent session was held in Thimphu on 26 November 2015. The European Union deployed an electoral observation mission in 2008 and parliamentary cooperation was set up in 2009.

Updated: May 2018