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France and Peru

  • French Ambassador to Peru: Mr Antoine Grassin (September 2017)
  • Peruvian Ambassador to France: Mrs Cristina Maria del ROSARIO RONQUILLO de BLODORN (February 2019)

Political relations

Website of the French Embassy in Peru (in French)

French-Peruvian relationships grew particularly close during the Presidency of Mr Humala, who spoke French and was a Francophile. His official visit to France on 14-16 November 2012 helped relaunch bilateral cooperation in many areas, including academic, institutional, legal, economic and trade cooperation. Mr Humala was again welcomed by the President of the French Republic in Paris on 9 October 2013 and then 1 July 2014. President François Hollande travelled to Peru on 23-24 February 2016. His visit enabled several bilateral agreements to be signed, particularly in the areas of academia, economics and the environment, as well as a cooperation agreement between the Peruvian government and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD, French Development Agency), and highlighted the French-Peruvian space partnership (the Peru Sat-1 satellite was successfully launched in September 2016).

The Peruvian Presidency of COP 20 (December 2014 - November 2015) and French Presidency of COP 21 (December 2015 - November 2016) enabled close bilateral cooperation on environmental protection and the fight against climate change. In 2014, a high-level French delegation (Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, Minister of State for Development and Francophonie) travelled to Lima for the 20th edition of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 20). France also had a strong presence at the IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings (Lima, October 2015) with the presence of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Finance, Development and Francophonie. On 30 November 2015 in Paris, President Humala attended the COP 21 opening ceremony with President Hollande, at which the Peruvian Minister of State for Environment, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, acted as facilitator.

In April 2017, the French Foreign Minister, Mr Ayrault, received Ms Mercedes Aráoz, then Second Vice President of Peru, in Paris.

President Kuczynski travelled to Paris on 7-10 June 2017 to take part in the International Economic Forum on Latin America and the Caribbean. On that occasion, he met with the President of the French Republic at the Élysée Palace.

Peru, which defends multilateralism and the fight against climate change, often supports France’s positions at the United Nations Security Council, of which it was a non-permanent member in 2018-2019.

Economic relations

Website of the Economic Service in Lima (in French)

Trade between France and Peru totalled €699 million in 2017, representing an 8% drop on 2016. However, this drop was due to the one-off sale of an observation satellite that year. Without the satellite, total trade would have been up 3.6%. The same is true of our exports which reached €240 million in 2017, down 24% on the previous year, but without the satellite sale in 2016, up 4.8%. Our structural trade deficit is €218 million, up 72%, and at its highest in 10 years. In 2017, Peru ranked 90th in terms of our clients and 69th in terms of suppliers, accounting for about 0.07% of French external trade. France is Peru’s 26th largest customer and 20th largest supplier.

France’s two main areas of export are mechanical, electrical, electronic and IT equipment (€87.1 million in 2017, up 6.4%) and other industrial products such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals, perfumes and cosmetics (exports of €106.3 million, down 2.7% compared to 2016). The positive impact of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Peru and the EU is starting to take effect, especially as regards the food sector, because our exports are growing by an average of over 10% per year and reached €21.5 million in 2017.

Our purchases of Peruvian products reached €459 million in 2017, up a modest 3% but which has long been on an upward trend. There are contrasting results: a modest increase in imports of agricultural products, which continue to account for a large share (especially tropical fruit which makes up a quarter of our imports); an increase in industrial products (metals, chemicals); a significant increase in hydrocarbons and products from extractive industries which are picking up after a short decline. However, food industry products have fallen sharply, reaching their lowest level in eight years.

The 84 French subsidiaries registered locally, which are mainly situated in Lima, employ over 15,000 people and generate turnover of around $2 billion. These are mainly subsidiaries of major groups: half of the CAC 40 companies are present. According to ProInversión, the Peruvian agency for the promotion of private investment, French foreign direct investment (FDI) in Peru totalled $220.5 million in 2017, or about 1% of the total stock, making France the 16th-largest foreign investor and the 5th-largest among EU countries, behind Spain and the United Kingdom which rank first and second, according to the official figures.

The most striking example of the French-Peruvian economic partnership is Vinci’s buyout of an urban motorway concession in Lima, which at $1 billion, is the largest-ever French investment in Peru. The installation of the cable car system for the Kuélap site, whose concession was bought by POMA, also illustrates this. The space industry was given strong impetus in April 2014 with the signing of an intergovernmental agreement on the purchase of an earth observation satellite (Airbus Defense & Space), which was put into orbit in September 2016.

The AFD has been active in Peru since 2014. Since then, it has granted over €300 million in sovereign and non-sovereign loans. It is financing social housing projects (€120 million loan for the “Mi Vivienda” social housing bank), transport (€120.5 million loan for metro line 2 in Lima) and water treatment (loan of €54 million).

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Academic and scientific cooperation is a priority of the French-Peruvian bilateral relationship which was reiterated during President Hollande’s State visit to Peru in February 2016, during which an academic and scientific forum was held and a dozen agreements signed.

With over 150 academic agreements between the countries (including about 15 dual diploma programmes), there are over 1,000 Peruvian students in France, where they make up the fifth-largest contingent of Latin American students. The agreement on the mutual recognition of diplomas and higher education study periods, which was signed in Lima in February 2016, strengthens these academic links. More generally, France ranks as the seventh most popular host country (and the third in Europe), for Peruvian students.

The Peruvian scholarship programme “Beca 18 - excellence scholarships”, mainly financed by the Peruvian authorities, was a pillar of our bilateral cooperation as over a four year period, it enabled France to train over 200 Peruvian high-level technicians in strategic sectors for the country’s economic development (civil engineering, energy, telecommunications, agrifood). However, the Peruvian government closed the programme in 2018 due to budget constraints.

Despite the closure, the numbers of Peruvian students departing for France has remained stable. These academic exchanges create a talent pool of young Peruvians trained in France whom the “France Alumni” platform helps to encourage French companies set up in Peru to recruit.

Our scientific cooperation is essentially based around the IRD (French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development) and the IFEA (French Institute for Andean Studies), which have been in Peru for over 50 and 70 years respectively. Both of these research organizations are recognized by scientific bodies in Peru, both in the area of research and training doctoral students. Two doctoral schools, one in the area of life sciences and one relating to geosciences, energy and the environment were created in partnership with the French Research Institute for Development (IRD) and several French and Peruvian universities.

France also cofinanced two French archaeological missions in Peru in 2017 (the Sechura project in the Piura region and the Animas Altas project in the Ica region).

The AFD, meanwhile, is helping by supporting the development of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP), which trains the country’s political and economic elite. Following an initial $25 million loan from AFD group through its subsidiary PROPARCO to upgrade the PUCP campus, two new financing projects are underway: creating the country’s first science and technology park ($22.5 million) in collaboration with the Sophia Antipolis technical institute in Nice, and building a gastronomic campus ($10 million).

Updated: November 2019