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France and Brazil

  • French Ambassador to Brazil: Michel Miraillet (since September 2017)
  • Brazilian Ambassador to France: Paulo Cesar de Oliveira Campos (since July 2015)

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.


The Strategic Partnership with Brazil was launched in May 2006 during President Chirac’s state visit to Brazil and confirmed during the meeting of 12 February 2008 between Presidents Lula and Sarkozy in Saint-Georges de l’Oyapock, Guiana, on our common border. An Action Plan was adopted, and many agreements were signed during the bilateral Rio Summit on 23 December 2008, organized with the EU-Brazil Summit. President Sarkozy’s visit on 7 September 2009, as the first non-Latin American Head of State to attend Brazil’s Independence Day celebrations as guest of honour, was an opportunity assess the implementation of the projects undertaken. The French year in Brazil, from 21 April to 15 November 2009, helped step up all those exchanges and introduce Brazil to a modern France open to the world with its diverse society.

Recent visits include :

  • the visit to Brasilia and São Paulo of Michèle Alliot-Marie, French Minister of Foreign Affairs, on 21 and 22 February 2011;
  • the visit to Brasilia, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro of François Fillon, French Prime Minister, from 14 to 17 December 2011;
  • the visit to Paris of Antonio Patriota, Brazilian Minister of External Relations, on 27 August 2012;
  • President Dilma Rousseff’s state visit to France on 11 and 12 December 2012;
  • French President Hollande’s state visit to Brazil, on 12 and13 December 2013;
  • the visit to Paris of Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, Brazilian Minister of External Relations, on 19 March 2014;
  • the visit to Paris of Mauro Vieira, Brazilian Minister of External Relations, on 3 June 2015;
  • the visit to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro of Matthias Fekl, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad, from13 to 15 October 2015;
  • 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 President François Hollande for the opening of the Olympic Games on 4 and 5 August 2016;
  • the visit to Paris of Marcos Pereira, Brazilian Minister of Industry Trade and Services, on 22 November 2016;
  • the visit of Michel Sapin, Minister for the Economy and Finance, on 31 March and 1 April 2017;
  • the visit to Paris of Aloysio Nunes, Brazilian Minister of External Relations, on 28 August 2017;
  • the visit to Paris of General Sergio Etchegoyen, Secretary of Institutional Security of the Presidency of the Republic of Brazil, from 22 to 24 January 2018;
  • the visit to Paris of Mr 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 Bolsonaro in Osaka on 28 June 2019.

Economic relations

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.

Despite current circumstances and labyrinthine regulations, Brazil remains very attractive for French companies and there are real opportunities:

  • Bilateral trade has long been buoyant, having doubled between 2003 and 2013 and with average annual growth of 9.2% since 2007, generating major surpluses for France (the 11th-largest worldwide at €1.2 billion, down 23.1% compared to 2016). There are nearly 900 subsidiaries of French companies in Brazil (including almost all CAC 40 companies), where they generate 500,000 jobs. The recession has, however, had a very direct impact on the number of French businesses exporting to Brazil: they have fallen from 5,000 in the period 2011-2013 down to 4,200 in 2017 – a drop of 16%.
  • Trade between France and Brazil stood at €7.1 billion in 2017, a rise of 1.2% compared to 2016 (€7 billion), because of a major increase in French imports from Brazil (8.3%) in the agricultural commodities and iron ore sectors in particular. French exports to Brazil are down (3.3%), because of a fall in Airbus orders from LATAM Airlines. Brazil is France’s 24ᵗʰ-largest customer (ranked 19st in 2016) and has become its ninth-largest supplier (seventh in 2016).
  • France is one of Brazil’s leading investors (fifth-largest in terms of foreign direct investment stock, with $30 billion), for investments to enter the local market rather than offshoring, and Brazil is the leading emerging economy destination for French foreign direct investment, with a stock slightly higher than that of China.
  • Brazil is France’s main market in Latin America. France primarily imports agricultural and hydrocarbon products (31.5% of imports), agrifood products (26.9%) and semi-industrial commodities such as wood and paper (15.9%). French exports to Brazil mainly comprise medium- and high-technology goods such as transport equipment (34%) and technological equipment (21%).

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

The enhancement of the relationship between France and Brazil 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 after the United States). 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 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 aspects 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 branches in Brazil constitute the oldest, most tightly meshed network in the world, with 39 locations and more than 43,000 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 Latin America).

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, showed considerably since 2011, with about 10 French local government bodies involved currently.

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: 23.07.19