Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina Wazed will arrive in Paris today for a five-day state visit.
During the trip, Sheikh Hasina will meet with French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Jean Castex. Sheikh Hasina’s trip is expected to focus on increasing both economic and cultural bilateral relations.
French-Bangladeshi economic ties are already well established thanks to Bangladesh’s strong textile industry–readymade garments and leather products comprise 98 per cent of French imports from Bangladesh. France is one of Bangladesh’s largest export markets overall and its third largest in the EU. Although bilateral trade decreased 15% last year to $3.19 billion due to the COVID-19 pandemic, French exports to Bangladesh still increased by 91% in 2020.
While no tangible agreements will likely result from Sheikh Hasina’s meetings, expect talks to stress increased economic ties. Afterall, growing commercial relations with Paris gives Dhaka a foot in the door for other EU markets. Moreover, Bangladesh is an attractive candidate for French investment. French foreign direct investment in Bangladesh totaled only $14.64 million in 2016-17, and Bangladesh’s 12-year tax exemption for foreign investors makes it an attractive candidate. Investment in infrastructure and renewable energy are likely targets due to the country’s susceptibility to climate change.
Jon is a Content Editor and Analyst within the Analysis division of Foreign Brief.