Political relations

Our bilateral relations have increased since 2013, with the successive visits to Guatemala by the French Ambassador for Human Rights in April of that year, the Minister Delegate for French Nationals Abroad from 16 to 20 May 2013, and the Guatemalan Ministers for the Economy and External Relations to Paris in September and November 2013.

President François Hollande’s personal envoy for Latin America and the Caribbean, Mr Jean-Pierre Bel, visited Guatemala from 6 to 8 April 2016, where which he was received by the President of the Republic and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Carlos Raúl Morales. He also met with the Head of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), Mr Ivan Velásquez.

President Jimmy Morales travelled to France on 8-11 June 2017. He was joined by the Minister for External Relations, the Finance Minister and the Minister for the Economy, Mr Victor Asturias Cordón. This was his first visit to Europe and the first visit to France by a Guatemalan President since President Álvaro Arzú’s visit in 1999. He was met by President Emmanuel Macron, the Economy and Interior Ministers, the President of the French Senate and the Mayor of Paris.

Economic relations

Guatemala is France’s third-largest trading partner in Central America, after Panama and Costa Rica. Our trade totalled €99.7 million in 2016, producing a surplus of €12.5 million for France (€56.1 million of exports and €43.6 million of imports).

About 20 French companies are established in Guatemala as commercial subsidiaries, particularly in the sectors of consumer goods, telecommunications, electrical equipment, pharmaceuticals and services. The French-British company Perenco is the leading French investor in Guatemala and the country’s largest oil operator.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

The cooperation envelope is regionalized and projects are implemented from the French Institute in Central America (IFAC) based in Costa Rica. French cooperation is based on the cultural network (Alliances françaises in Guatemala City, Quetzaltenango and Antigua; the French Lycée Jules Verne in Guatemala City, with more than 900 students), while the regional office of the Centre for Mexican and Central American Studies (CEMCA) ensures coordination with the scientific and academic communities, in the area of social sciences and archaeology.

Almost 150 Guatemalan students are enrolled in French higher education establishments, making France their fifth-most-popular destination worldwide, behind the United States, Cuba, Spain and Honduras.

In partnership with FUNDAECO (Foundation for Ecodevelopment and Conservation), a Guatemalan NGO, since 2012 the French Global Environment Facility (FFEM) has provided funding of €1.5 million to a socio-environmental project. The project aims to involve local communities, as well as national and regional authorities and economic actors, in the management of protected areas.

Support for strengthening the rule of law and the defence of human rights is another key area of French cooperation. The French embassy regularly organizes or participates in actions for early childhood protection and for combating gender-based violence and human trafficking.

Updated: 26 June 2017