Within the European Union, France is a major economic partner of Bangladesh. Both countries have developed strong economic cooperation and are enjoying warn business relationships. With regards to Bangladeshi exports, France is the fourth destination, just after the USA, the UK and Germany. Bangladesh aims to widen French investors portfolios, advise French businessmen, secure market access and try to diversify its export baskets. In fact, readymade garments alone account for around 90% of Bangladeshi export earnings from France. Export of other products such as leather and footwear, shrimps and frozen fish, ceramic and pharmaceutical articles have also recently increased. Bangladeshi producers are participating in many renowned international fairs in France to promote their products.
French exports to Bangladesh include spare parts for aircraft and vessels, alcoholic beverages, chemicals, food stuff etc.
The most notable French investment is the Lafarge-Surma cement factory (253 million USD) in Chhatak with a capacity of 1.2 million tons per year. A good number of companies have already invested in Bangladesh, notable among them are Alcatel, Ondeo, Dégrement, Adhipress. Another reference is the renowned enterprise Total, that has invested in an LPG factory in Chittagong. French and Bangladeshi firms have also set up joint-ventures, like the one between Danone and Grameen. Other companies such as Aventis, ADEX, Adhipress, Danone, Vieola have also made challenging investments.
Bangladeshi exports to France have increased constantly in values from 2001 to 2011. In 2008-2009 they crossed the billion USD. Despite the international economic crisis and the European debt crisis, Bangladeshi products have always remained attractive for European buyers.
The trade balance always remained largely positive (+1435.88 Million USD in 2010-2011). Due to inflation in the European market, as a direct consequence of debt crisis, French products turned to be more expensive, resulting in a slight decrease of Bangladeshi importations of French products as of 2009-2010. The value of French imports has crossed 100 Million USD since 2007-2008, reaching a maximum of 130.62 Million USD in 2007-2008, before the international economic crisis.
(Courtesy : The Embassy of Bangladesh in Paris)