France and United States

Political relations

The United States is one of France’s major allies and our cooperation is particularly strong in efforts to counter terrorism. France is a leading contributor to the Global Coalition against Daesh and the United States provides significant support to Operation Barkhane in the Sahel region, estimated at €35 million a year. The quality of the French armed forces is recognized by the Trump Administration, which appreciates their involvement in several foreign theatres. French-American relations enable quality dialogue on issues where consensus is sometimes lacking, such as when it comes to tackling climate change.

Large-scale ceremonies to commemorate the long-standing alliance of our two countries were held in recent years, with the commemoration on 14 July 2017 of the centenary of the United States’ entry into World War One, with Donald Trump in attendance. On 11 November 2018, President Trump visited Paris to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the World War One. President Trump visited France for a third time for the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Landings on 6 June 2019. A large delegation from Congress was also present on this occasion.

From 23 to 25 April 2018, the President of the French Republic made his first State visit to the United States since the election of Donald Trump. That invitation reflected the depth of the historical ties between the two countries as friends and allies.

France enjoys a positive image in the United States. According to a survey conducted in February 2018, France ranked fourth among countries with a positive image in the United States, with 84% positive opinions.

At parliamentary level, a friendship group – the French Caucus, created in the U.S. Congress in 2003 and made up of around one hundred members – is a key instrument of France-USA relations. Similarly, there are France-US friendship groups in the French National Assembly and Senate.

As of 31 December 2017, 163,699 French nationals were registered in France’s 10 Consulates General in the USA (the total French community in the USA is estimated at more than 300,000).

Visits

Visits to France of prominent American public figures

2017
  • 13 and 14 July: Donald and Melania Trump visited Paris and participated in the 14 July military parade and commemoration of the United States’ entry into World War One.
  • 8 December: The U.S. Secretary of State visited Paris and met with the Foreign Minister and President Macron.
2018
  • 23 January: The American Secretary of State visited Paris for the conference to combat impunity for the use of chemical weapons.
  • 9 to 11 November: Donald and Melania Trump visited Paris to take part in the centenary commemorations of World War One.
2019
  • 6 June: Donald and Melania Trump visited Normandy for the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings.

Visits o the United States of French authorities

2017
  • 26-30 June: Mounir Mahjoubi, Minister of State for the Digital Sector, visited New York.
  • 28-30 June: Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy and Finance, visited New York.
  • 18-20 September: President Macron visited New York for the 72nd United Nations General Assembly, accompanied by the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Minister of State for the Digital Sector.
  • 30-31 October: The French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs visited New York when France held the presidency of the Security Council.
  • 11-14 October: Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy and Finance; visited Washington D.C. for the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
  • 18 December: The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs visited Washington.
2018
  • 23-25 April: The President of the French Republic paid a State visit to the United States.
  • 25-27 September: The President of the Republic visited New York for the 73rd United Nations General Assembly, accompanied by the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs.
  • 4 to 5 October: The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs visited Washington.
2019
  • 27 March to 3 April: The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs visited New York and Washington.

Economic relations

Given the special political ties between the two countries, France and the United States have very strong and mutually beneficial economic relations. Trade and investment support growth, employment and innovation in the two countries. Trade of goods and services between our two countries total approximately $139 billion per year (Eurostat). The transport equipment industry accounts for nearly half this trade. French exports of goods stood at €32.6 billion in 2016 and rose 4% in 2017 to reach €37 billion. The main areas of export are aeronautics, luxury goods (textiles, perfume, wine and spirits), chemicals and agrifood (French Customs). Research and development is one of the leading investment sectors. In 2017, a quarter of the new R&D projects in France were funded by the United States (source: Business France). US companies invest $2 billion in R&D every year. French business also invest $5 billion in US R&D per year or 10% of foreign R&D investment in the United States (source: BEA). This economic trade has been developed further with a partnership in the area of innovation.

France’s attractiveness to American companies has increased considerably. According to the American Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 barometer report, more than 75% of American investors have a very positive outlook for France’s economic future and more than 50% of American investors are considering employing more people in France in the next two to three years (versus 21% in 2016). Some 21% of American investors interviewed said that they recommended France as a place to invest (only 3% did in 2016).

In 2016, some 600,000 French people visited the United States and 4,200,000 American tourists visited France.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

French-American cooperation in scientific, academic and cultural matters is flourishing and France is working to increase student exchanges, scientific cooperation and bilingualism. France is the fourth most popular destination for American university students, with some 17,000 students studying in France every year (50% of them in short-term programmes). The Transatlantic Friendship and Mobility Initiative signed in 2014 aims to double French-American mobility flows by 2025.

The United States is France’s number one scientific partner (more than 16,000 co-publications in 2016) and France is the United States’ fifth biggest scientific partner. Academic cooperation programmes such as Fulbright, which celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2018, and Benjamin Franklin scholarships, play a full role in this relationship. The creation of joint laboratories has enhanced our ties; seven joint international units have been established. Our research institutions also have strong partnerships, particularly with the National Institute of Health and the Department of Energy. The CNES and NASA have emblematic partnerships when it comes to space.

Regarding the promotion of the French language, French is the sixth most-spoken language in the United States and the second most-studied foreign language in the public education system (1.25 million students) and at university (200,000 students). The development of immersion schools is particularly active with 25,000 students in more than 150 schools.

With regard to culture, the United States is still the main promoter of culture internationally and France is working in close cooperation with Americans to promote and develop the wealth and the vitality of our contemporary creativity. France has a network of 110 Alliance Française branches in the United States (including 73 offering French courses).

Updated: 10.07.19