FRENCH BOOST FOR

Sec­ond ever visit by a pres­i­dent in 14 years will high­light good ties

New Straits Times - - News -

SYED UMAR AR­IFF KUALA LUMPUR news@nst.com.my

THE long­stand­ing re­la­tions be­tween Malaysia and France will strengthen in the ar­eas of de­fence and trade fol­low­ing Pres­i­dent François Hol­lande’s two-day state visit here start­ing tomorrow.

Hol­lande’s visit will be the sec­ond af­ter Jac­ques Chirac ar­rived in Kuala Lumpur 14 years ago to sig­nify the con­tin­u­a­tion of the en­dur­ing ties be­tween the two na­tions since 1957.

“It is an im­por­tant visit be­cause it is the sec­ond ever by a French pres­i­dent to Malaysia.

“It high­lights the friend­ship be­tween our two coun­tries. The pres­i­dent is hon­oured to carry out this state visit,” French Am­bas­sador to Malaysia Christophe Penot said.

France was among the first Euro­pean coun­tries to es­tab­lish diplo­matic ties with Malaysia in the early days of its in­de­pen­dence.

Decades down the road, the re­la­tion­ship has wit­nessed count­less ad­vance­ments, mainly in de­fence and ed­u­ca­tion.

Malaysian-French bi­lat­eral trade value last year was recorded at €3.7 bil­lion (RM17.6 bil­lion), with a trade sur­plus of €638 mil­lion.

Both coun­tries have forged firm co­op­er­a­tion in man­u­fac­tur­ing, fi­nance, in­sur­ance, and whole­sale and re­tail sec­tors, with Malaysia be­ing France’s fifth largest Asean trade part­ner.

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