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France and Brazil

Political relations

The long-standing relationship of friendship between Brazil and France was enhanced with the building of an ambitious Strategic Partnership launched in May 2006 by Presidents Lula and Chirac. It recognizes Brazil as a global player and a legitimate candidate to permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council. It shares expertise through joint initiatives based on the pooling of material, technological, human and natural resources. The Partnership concerns all fields: military, space, energy, the economy, education, cross-border affairs, development assistance in third countries, and cross-border cooperation between French Guiana and the State of Amapá.

In August 2019, following fires affecting the Amazon, the President of the French Republic sought to mobilize the international community during the G7 Summit in Biarritz in order to help the affected States. Brazil refused help from France and the G7, believing that it undermined its sovereignty over its Amazon region. Assistance from France and the international community therefore focused on Paraguay and Bolivia.

French presence

French consulates: São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Recife
French community in Brazil: 19,942 on the register of French people living abroad; about 30,000 French residents according to the federal police

Visits

Recent visits include:

  • the visit to Brasilia, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro of François Fillon, French Prime Minister, from 14 to 17 December 2011;
  • Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s state visit to France on 11 and 12 December 2012;
  • French President Hollande’s state visit to Brazil, on 12 and 13 December 2013;
  • the visit to Brasilia of Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, on 22 November 2015;
  • the visit to Paris of José Serra, Brazilian Minister of External Relations, on 2 June 2016;
  • the visit to Rio de Janeiro of French President François Hollande for the opening of the Olympic Games on 4 and 5 August 2016;
  • the visit to Paris of Aloysio Nunes, Brazilian Minister of External Relations, on 28 August 2017;
  • the visit to Paris of Ernesto Araújo, Brazilian Minister of External Relations, on 24 May 2019;
  • the visit to Paris of General Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz, Secretary of Government of Brazil, on 5 and 6 June 2019;
  • the meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in Osaka on 28 June 2019;
  • visit to Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo by the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, from 28 to 30 July 2019, where he met with his Brazilian counterpart, Ernesto Araújo.

Ambassadors

French Ambassador in Brazil: Michel Miraillet (since September 2017)
Twitter account: @mraillet
Brazilian Ambassador to France: Luis Fernando Serra (since July 2019)
Twitter account: @bresilenfrance

Economic relations

Exports from France to the Brazil (2018): €4.51 billion (+8%) - Brazil is France’s 21ᵗʰ-largest customer.

French imports from Brazil (2018): €3 billion (+2%) - Brazil is France’s 31st largest supplier

Trade balance (2018): €1.5 billion (+24%) - France’s 11th largest global surplus

The dynamic of economic relations is based both on trade and investment in a country which French companies no longer regard merely as a market but as a component of their global development strategy. There are nearly 900 subsidiaries of French companies in Brazil (including almost all CAC 40 companies), where they generate 500,000 jobs. France is one of Brazil’s leading investors, with foreign direct investment stock of €23.658 billion in 2018. This amount increased in 2019, including with the buyout by an Engie-led consortium of a network of gas pipelines in the northeast (€7.7 billion). Although it was affected by the recession, bilateral trade remains strong and is generating strong surpluses for France.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

The French-Brazilian relationship draws on particularly solid and diversified cooperation, as Brazil is a very Francophile country and cultural diversity is part of its national identity:

  • Brazil is France’s leading scientific cooperation partner in Latin America, with a special focus on research and technological innovation (France is Brazil’s third-most important scientific partner). Scientific cooperation is structured around quality training between universities and through high-level partnerships between research bodies in both countries. Such training focuses in particular on fundamental and applied mathematics, climate change and the social and human sciences. Innovative technology programmes are developing fast, such as the CAPES-COFECUB programme, which is a balanced partnership of very high scientific quality that has trained almost 2,000 Brazilian researchers since it was launched in 1978;
  • France remains Brazil’s leading European academic partner. Starting in the 1930s, Fernand Braudel, Claude Lévi-Strauss and Roger Bastide worked to forge the strong academic ties that exist between France and Brazil by helping found the University of São Paulo (USP) which is today the leading university in Latin America;
  • The French National School of Public Administration (ENA) has a long-standing partnership with ENAP, its Brazilian counterpart, for the training of senior civil servants. This partnership was enhanced with new exchange programmes in May 2016;
  • Work to promote French and cultural exchanges is also a major part of our cooperation. A total of over 2,500 pupils attend three French lycées, in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, including some 1,500 French nationals. The Alliance Française’s 37 branches in Brazil constitute the oldest, most tightly meshed network in the world, with 63 locations and more than 24,000 students. In the publishing sector, there are close relations between publishers and writers from both countries (Brazil is the leading market for French books in South America).
  • The Franco-German Treaty signed in Aachen on 22 January 2019 provides for the creation of a French-German Cultural Centre in Rio de Janeiro on the site of the Maison de France.

Other cooperation

Decentralized cooperation was institutionalized in a memorandum signed in French Guiana on 12 February 2008, and has since developed steadily. It has, however, slowed considerably since 2011, with about 10 French local government bodies currently involved.

Cross-border cooperation is a specific aspect of our relationship, given that France has over 700km of borders with Brazil. The building of a bridge on the Oyapock River illustrates this and has led to growing cooperation in the fields of health, education and sustainable development, in cooperation with the Agence Française de Développement (AFD, French Development Agency). Such cooperation addresses the concerns of both parties about the various cross-border risks such as illegal immigration, security, illegal gold-washing, illegal fishing, and sanitary and phytosanitary issues. It also encourages human exchanges and trade (education, movement) and helps develop the Amazonian regional economy with due respect for local people and the exceptional environment.

Updated: March 2020