Economic relations between Bangladesh and France are more vibrant than ever. In 2018, our bilateral trade has registered a record EUR 2.94 billion, showing an increase of +11% compared to 2017, and the highest score of the last ten years.
Fueled mainly by the RMG sector and some leather products, which represent 98% of French imports from Bangladesh, the total value of imports increased by 6% in a year to reach EUR 2.6 billion in 2018. France is one of Bangladesh’s largest export markets, and its third customer in the European Union, all products considered.
Meanwhile, for the first time in ten years, French exports to Bangladesh surpassed the EUR 300 million mark, amounting to EUR 331.6 million, up 73% compared to 2017. French exports are boosted by electrical machinery and industrial equipment, such as gas turbines & equipment manufactured by GENERAL ELECTRIC in Belfort, France.
Consequently, our bilateral deficit has registered a threefold increase in the last ten years, rising to a record EUR 2.27 billion last year. To reduce the huge trade deficit we are facing, France is eager to put its world acclaimed know-how and experience at the service of Bangladesh and its people, especially in the sectors where our companies’ excellence is proven worldwide. Hence, we follow with a keen interest developments in such sectors as power generation (including renewable energy), rail transportation, water treatment and all environment related issues.
On May 19th, 2019, the start of commercial operations of Bangabandhu-1, satellite designed and manufactured by the French company THALES ALENIA SPACE, was a milestone in the high-technology cooperation between Bangladesh and France. It paves the way for further collaboration to enhance the digitalization of Bangladesh economy. France is a “Startup Nation”, a home to vibrant tech hubs and talents and imbued with a strong entrepreneurial culture. This spirit gave birth to a movement entitled “La French Tech” which is, above all, an international project aiming at bringing together a thriving community of multi-national entrepreneurs.
In 2017, France organized a successful and fruitful France-Bangladesh seminar on Blue Economy, in partnership with the Blue Economy Cell (BEC) under the Energy and Mineral Resources Division of the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources. France maintains its collaboration with the Blue Economy Cell and stands ready to mobilize its best companies to help Bangladesh implement its blue economy strategy. Owning the second largest maritime territory in the world, France has developed a comprehensive approach to explore and ensure the sustainable exploitation of this area. With Bangladesh, France has started sharing this experience and developed close relationships in the field of oceanography and hydrography.
Since the significant demarcation decision of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in 2014, Bangladesh can benefit from a large exclusive economic zone with natural and mineral resources than could increase the GDP by two percent. To harness the potential of blue economy, Bangladesh will have to rely on progress provided by new technologies as well as on organizing new methods of governance. Innovation has always been the biggest strength and priority of France.
The individual strength of both France and Bangladesh are to be amply utilized and shared in order to consolidate the mutual economic and social benefits. France and its companies are committed to developing their action and establishing partnerships which would allow Bangladesh to reach its ambitious economic targets.