France and Brazil

  • French Ambassador to Brazil: Mr Michel Miraillet (since September 2017)
  • Brazilian Ambassador to France: Mr 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 know-how and 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.

Visits

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 a guest of honour, helped 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;
  • visit to Paris of Gilberto Kassab, Brazilian Minister of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications, on 25 January 2018.

Economic relations

The momentum of economic relations is based on both trade and investment, in a country which French companies no longer see as a mere market but a part of their global development strategy. Despite current circumstances and Byzantine 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 5.6% annually since 2006, generating major surpluses for France. There are nearly 900 subsidiaries of French companies in Brazil (including all CAC 40 non-construction 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 2016—a drop of 16%.
  • Bilateral trade between France and Brazil stood at €7 billion in 2016, down 9% on 2015, because of a drop in our exports (-10% at €4.3 billion) resulting from the contraction of Brazilian internal demand; over the same period, imports from Brazil fell by 8% (€2.7 billion as against €2.9 billion in 2015). French exports have shown a degree of resilience, as Brazil’s total imports fell by 20% between 2015 and 2016. Brazil thus remains France’s 19ᵗʰ-largest customer (and ranked 21st in 2015) and has become its seventh-largest supplier (ninth in 2015).
  • France is among the leading investors in Brazil (fourth in terms of net investment), with a view to conquering markets (with Accor in the service sector and Casino in the large-scale distribution sector) and not offshoring. According to a study by the consultancy PwC, France was even the second-leading foreign country in terms of investment decisions in 2016. French foreign direct investment (FDI) flows have, however, followed the general trend of divestment observed in 2015 (-3.5%, at US $2.8 billion).

Brazil is France’s leading export market in Latin America, attracting two thirds of French exports to the region, well ahead of Mexico (19%), Argentina (11%) and Colombia and Chile (8%). Brazil’s position in French foreign trade remains steady, accounting for less than 1% of our total trade flows. Traditionally, France purchases agrifood products (including soya) and oil in Brazil and is increasingly purchasing industrial goods. French exports to Brazil mainly consist of capital goods and industrial products (including aeronautical products, car equipment, motor vehicles and pharmaceutical products).

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

The enhancement of the relationship between France and Brazil is based on particularly solid and diversified cooperation as Brazil is a country where Francophilia thrives and cultural diversity is a national identity component.

  • Brazil is France’s leading scientific cooperation partner in Latin America, with a special focus on research and technological innovation (France is Brazil’s second-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. Courses in innovative technologies have developed significantly, in particular the CAPES-COFECUB programme, which is a balanced partnership of very high scientific quality that has trained almost 2,000 PhD candidates 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 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 students attend three French lycées, in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, including some 1,500 French students. The Alliance Française branches in Brazil constitute the oldest, most tightly meshed network in the world, with 40 locations and more than 43,000 students. In the publishing sector, there are close relations between publishers and writers of both countries (Brazil is the leading market for French books in Latin America).

Other cooperation

Decentralized cooperation was officialized by the Protocol signed in French Guiana on 12 February 2008. It then experienced steady growth through regular bilateral conferences and the Joint Monitoring Committee on French-Brazilian Cooperation, established by the 2008 Protocol, which forges ties between the Nord-Pas-de-Calais Region and Minas Gerais and the cities of Paris and Rio de Janeiro.

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 2018