France and Pakistan

Presentation

Political relations

Since Prime Minister Gilani’s visit to Paris in 2011, our bilateral dialogue has been structured around three pillars:

  • annual consultations with the Secretaries-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
  • an annual joint commission on security issues;
  • an annual joint commission on economic and trade issues.

Visits

  • December 2012: visit to Paris by President of Pakistan, Mr Zardari;
  • March 2014: meeting between the French President and Mr Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of Pakistan in the Hague.
  • November 2015: meeting between the French President and Mr Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan alongside the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta.
  • May 2016: visit to Paris by Mr Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, foreign secretary.
  • September 2016: visit to France by Mr Mohammad Ishaq Dar, Minister of the Economy and Finance. Meeting with his counterpart Mr Michel Sapin and Mr Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
  • December 2016: visit to France by Mr Ishaq Dar, Minister of the Economy and Finance. Meeting with his counterpart Mr Michel Sapin.

Economic relations

In 2016, bilateral trade between France and Pakistan reached €1.3 billion, up 18.7% year-on-year. Total French sales reached a historical high, up 44% year-on-year making Pakistan France’s 64th-largest customer (78th in 2015). The trade balance which has become a trade deficit for France due to the increase in Pakistani textile exports following the EUs attribution of a GSP+ trade facility in 2014, is looking like balancing out in 2016/2017.

Some 32 French companies mainly big groups, are represented in Pakistan, in key sectors of the Pakistani economy (energy, transport, public works and civil engineering, environment, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, non-banking services). Over 185 French companies are members of the Pakistan-France Business Alliance.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

France’s cooperation with Pakistan is implemented through two instruments: bilateral cooperation and the work of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) with a total of €265 million in commitments for the year 2016.

Bilateral aid in cooperation and cultural action has two main targets: supporting the Pakistani government’s university policy and consolidating France’s influence in the fields of culture, language, social sciences, governance and archaeology.

Our university cooperation is aimed in priority at Master’s, PhD and post-doc students through three bursary programmes. Our cooperation is also aimed at supporting joint projects led by French and Pakistani research laboratories (Hubert Curien Partnership “Péridot”, launched in September 2014). In addition, since 2012, France has been financing a scholarship scheme for academic excellence for deserving Pakistani students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

French language and culture is promoted through a network of three Alliance française branches (Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad).

Other cooperation

Security cooperation focuses on training to tackle document fraud, illegal immigration, terrorism and drug trafficking.

Defence cooperation with Pakistan focuses on elite military training, the exchange and transfer of expertise in areas linked to counter-insurgency, and French-language teaching in the military sphere.

Updated: August 2017

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