France and Myanmar

Presentation

Political relations

Since the 1990 elections, we have called for the resumption of a political process to enable national reconciliation and the establishment of democracy through dialogue.

France wants to support the transition so that it grows stronger over the long term. France is working with its partners to ensure that the United Nations remains informed of the human rights situation in Burma. To this end, we continue to support the annual resolution, led by the European Union, of the Human Rights Council on Burma.

Visits

To Burma:

  • Mr Jean-Marc Ayrault, French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, June 2016.
  • Ms Elisabeth Guigou, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly, on 18 December 2015.
  • Mr Alain Juppé, French Minister of Foreign Affairs, January 2012.

To France:

  • Minister for Information, Mr Pe Myint (14-18 November 2016).
  • Ms Aung San Suu Kyi (14-16 April 2014). She met with the President of the Republic, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the President of the National Assembly, the President of the Constitutional Council, the President of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council and the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the French National Assembly.
  • The Burmese President, Mr Thein Sein, made an official visit to France (16-19 July 2013).

Economic relations

Trade between France and Burma has increased significantly since 2012. French exports to Burma rose from €19 million in 2012 to €122 million in 2016 (due mainly to sales in the aviation sector), and imports from €66.1 million to €147 million (of which jewellery accounted for €44 million and textiles €18 million).

The main French company established in the country is Total, which operates the Yadana offshore gas field. This field has allowed Burma to export large volumes of gas to Thailand in recent years. Due to this investment alone, France ranks eighth in terms of investment stock. French companies are interested in the energy, infrastructure, telecommunications, transport and agricultural sectors. It is very important to France that investments resume in accordance with international corporate social and environmental responsibility principles.

Cultural, scientific and development cooperation

Cooperation between France and Burma has been taking off again since 2012. During his visit in June 2016, Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announced commitments of €200 million to the Agence Française de Développement (AFD, French Development Agency) by 2018. Its priority areas are urban development in Yangon, a water project in Mandalay, agriculture and health.

Supporting Burmese civil society, including freedom of expression and the press, is one of our priorities. In 2013, the French Embassy in Yangon co-organized the first International Women’s Forum in Burma. Our commitment continued with the creation of the country’s first school of journalism in July 2014. Our overall cooperation budget is now close to €11 million. A significant part of this budget is used to support people in rural areas, as well as the cultural and linguistic cooperation developed by the Institut français (French Institute) in Burma (almost 800 students) and the French Centre in Mandalay (150 students). Moreover, together with the Yangon regional government, France organized a street-art festival on an unprecedented scale entitled “Mingalabar!” which attracted almost 200,000 visitors in three days.

Cultural cooperation has been ongoing for decades on archaeological projects (Bagan) and paleontological projects, mainly conducted by a French archaeological mission.

Finally, Campus France encourages French universities to develop direct relations with Burma: nine French universities have had ties with the universities of Mandalay and Yangon since 2009 and there has been an annual trade show since 2016.

Updated: October 2017

SITE MAP