France and Mongolia

Bilateral relations

Mongolia sees France as a “third neighbour”, other than Russia and China, with which it maintains a long-standing relationship of friendship. France is a major partner for Mongolia in Europe. Meanwhile, France considers Mongolia as a “key partner in Asia” and supports the democratic transition followed by Mongolia since the democratic revolution in 1990. The two countries are developing their exchanges and cooperation in support of common principles and interests: development founded on respect for human rights and democracy, respect for international law, strengthening multilateralism, preserving international peace and security, commitment to non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, counter-terrorism, environmental protection and diversity of cultural expressions.

In 2015, France and Mongolia commemorated the 50th years of diplomatic relations. On that occasion, the President of Mongolia made an official visit to France on 18-19 November 2015, giving new impetus to relations between our two countries. The joint declaration adopted during the visit is a road map for French-Mongolian relations in the coming years. Former President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj likewise attended the inauguration of the Paris Climate Conference (30 November 2015).

The French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Mr Jean-Marc Ayrault, visited Ulaanbaatar on 15 and 16 July 2016 for the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM11) and met with the Mongolian Prime Minister.

France ranks fourth among European sources of foreign direct investment in Mongolia. France ranks thirteenth among suppliers to Mongolia (third among European countries behind Germany, with a 0.6% market share) and its eleventh-largest customer. Bilateral trade remains limited, with France having a structural surplus. In 2016, bilateral trade stood at €14.8 million: €9.3 million of exports to Mongolia, as against €5.5 million of imports from the country.

In the nuclear sector, Orano (formerly Areva) has been developing mine exploration activities in Mongolia for nearly 20 years, in partnership with the Mongolian Mon-Atom group and the Japanese Mitsubishi Corporation, to exploit two uranium deposits in the Gobi desert in south-eastern Mongolia. Furthermore, the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) has been providing nuclear science and technology training for Mongolian specialists and students with the Mongolian Agency for Nuclear Energy since 2013.

The celebration of the 50th anniversary of Franco-Mongolian relations in 2015 boosted cooperation between France and Mongolia. The State visit to France by President Elbegdorj in November 2015 saw several agreements signed (implementation of a grant co-funding programme; use of the Food Aid Fund; bovine genetic improvement; educational, cultural, scientific and technical cooperation; statement of intent on cinema cooperation; tourism).

France and Mongolia continue to develop their cooperation in scientific and technical fields, notably as regards archaeology, seismology, agronomy (genetics, animal identification, veterinary vaccines), space, architecture and sustainable development. Cooperation in the area of governance and the rule of law is developing through training conducted by the French National School of Public Administration (ENA), the High Council of French Notariat and the Paris Bar Association.

The Alliance Française in Mongolia is helping to develop Franco-Mongolian cooperation in school and higher education and cinema.

As regards tourism, France is the second country of origin for European tourists to Mongolia (9,770 in 2017) and supports the promotion of natural and cultural heritage, as well as the development of a sustainable and responsible tourism industry in Mongolia.

France and Mongolia are developing their military cooperation, in particular through training and exchange of experience (annual Khaan Quest military exercises).

The Hauts-de-France Region, the Allier Department and the City of Paris have also developed decentralized cooperation initiatives, notably in medical and educational fields.

Updated: 14 June 2018