France and Malaysia

France and Malaysia

Political relations

High-level visits have taken place on both sides: the French Prime Minister, Mr Jean-Marc Ayrault (July 2013) and President, Mr François Hollande (March 2017) made official visits to Malaysia, while Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak visited France in 2009.

Our defence cooperation is especially extensive and based, in particular, on a Joint Strategic Defence High Committee which meets every year. In this framework, the French Minister of Defence, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, travelled to Malaysia in 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Bilateral visits

For information, please consult the website of the French Embassy in in Kuala Lumpur: https://my.ambafrance.org/Chronologie-des-visites

Economic relations

In 2016, our bilateral trade totalled €3.7 billion, excluding military equipment (Malaysia is our fifth-largest trading partner in the ASEAN region). Sales have grown by almost 8% in one year, primarily in the aeronautical sector (49% of our exports in 2016), while our imports have remained relatively stable and stood at €2.2 billion, representing a trade deficit of €638 million. In 2016, Malaysia represented our 27ᵗʰ-largest trade deficit worldwide, and our coverage rate was 70%.

France has a considerable economic presence, with 270 subsidiaries of French companies established in the country, representing a total turnover of €4 billion in 2015, 26,000 direct jobs, and a foreign direct investment stock of around €1 billion. French businesses perform particularly well in our key export sectors, as well as in the financial and land transport fields.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Almost 125 cooperation programmes, involving 78 French universities and research bodies, are currently underway between the two countries. The binational Malaysia-France University Centre (MFUC), which is intended to promote exchanges between the two countries and was inaugurated in 2006, has strengthened existing programmes and enabled new cooperation projects. Student mobility is an essential aspect of this cooperation, and approximately 900 Malaysian students are enrolled in French higher education. There are 13,000 learners of French in more than 90 Malaysian secondary schools, a figure that has doubled in five years.

Cultural cooperation is also implemented through cinema (“French Art and Film Festival”, an annual French cultural event in Malaysia) and through museum cooperation (partnership between the Guimet Museum and the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur.

Updated: October 2017

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