Economic relation between Bangladesh and France is faring well. In 2017, overall trade volume between the two countries followed its increasing trend, as the year before. It is mostly fuelled by RMG which accounted for more than 98% of Bangladeshi exports to France. The value of exports from Bangladesh to France increased by 1.4% to EUR 2.4 billion, while French exports to Bangladesh only reached EUR 191 million. France is Bangladesh's fourth largest export market.
To reduce the huge trade deficit that we are dealing with, 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 around the world. Hence, we follow with a keen interest the development of the sectors of electricity, rail transportation, water treatment and all environment related issues. Likewise, we supported the French company THALES in designing and manufacturing the first Bangladeshi geostationary communications and Broadcasting Satellite, Bangabandhu Satellite-1, which was launched on 10th May 2018.
Another success story for our bilateral relationship is the winning of the 275 million euros contract to design, build and operate a drinking water production plant in Narayanganj's Ghandharbpur. This contract will be executed by a joint venture set up between Suez and Veolia, through a subsidiary of Veolia Water Technologies, as equal partners.
Sustainable urban development is another field where our two countries should be strengthening their cooperation. Under the “Vivapolis” umbrella, the French Government and representatives from the private sector promote cities' environmental performances which determine population's health and well-being, as well as city's competitiveness in terms of better management of consumption and waste. “Low Carbon Cities in Southest Asia”, “Eco-Neighborhood in Shenyang (China)” and “Expansion of the Water Treatment and Distribution Capacity of the City of Phnom Penh” are, among others, the ongoing projects abroad.
To achieve their goals, cities must rely on progress provided by new technologies as well as on organizing new methods of governance, adapted to their particular contexts. Innovation has always been the biggest strength and priority of France. 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.
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.
François PETIT, Economic Counsellor, Head of the Economic Department. Embassy of France in Dhaka.