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France and Malaysia

Bilateral relations

Minister of Defence Jean-Yves Le Drian visited Malaysia on three occasions between 2014 and 2017, while his successor, Minister for the Armed Forces Florence Parly, chaired the latest High Committee (January 2018) in Kuala Lumpur. The Minister of State attached to the Minister for the Armed Forces, Geneviève Darrieussecq, visited Malaysia in March 2019. In 2018, our bilateral trade stood at €4.3 billion, excluding military equipment (Malaysia is our second-largest market in the ASEAN region). Despite 3.4% growth in our exports in 2018, to €1.9 billion, France still has a slight trade deficit. There are some 280 French businesses present in Malaysia, directly employing around 25,000 people.

There are now more than 100 cooperation programmes, involving around 100 French higher education institutions and research centres and some 30 Malaysian establishments. The first Hubert Curien Partnership (PHC), Hibiscus, which is co-financed by the Malaysian Government and supports scientific cooperation between our two countries, was set up in 2019. Student mobility is an essential aspect of this cooperation, and approximately 1000 Malaysian students are enrolled in French higher education. There are more than 15,000 learners of French in more than 100 Malaysian State secondary schools, a figure that has tripled in eight years. Cultural cooperation is also implemented through cinema and the arts (“French Festival”, an annual French cultural event in Malaysia) and now through decentralized cooperation (agreement between the Penang authorities and the City of Arles in France).

The French embassy in Kuala Lumpur serves the French community in Malaysia, with 3,247 French citizens registered as of 1 September 2018. Over 170,000 French visitors and tourists travel to Malaysia each year.

For information, please consult the website of the French Embassy in Kuala Lumpur

Updated: April 2019