Olivier Becht, the Minister for the French residing outside France, is also that of Foreign Trade. Last week, he visited countries in the Indo-Pacific where he had come to reinforce the economic aspect of the French strategy. A first trip that took him from Australia to Indonesia, without forgetting Singapore. Observers were particularly attentive to relations between Paris and Canberra after the submarine affair.
Warming relations with Australia
During his stay in Sydney, Olivier Becht had the difficult task of reviving economic relations between our two countries. For this, he praised the merits of the French champions of urban transport, such as Keolis or Transdev, already very well established in Australia, and the role they could play in reducing the dependence of Australian cities and states on the car. Another company put forward, the company Neoen, which already produces more than 2000 MW of electricity from solar and wind power and operates some giant storage batteries in Australia.
Olivier Becht also took advantage of his stay to raise the issue of critical materials, which the Australian underground abounds in, and which are essential for the construction of rechargeable batteries. A field in which France aims to become a major player. “It is a subject on which we want to work with Australia. We are also there to secure and diversify our supplies of rare earths, nickel, cobalt, lithium, and to see how we can work together on the refining of these products”, specifies the Minister.
At the end of his stay in Australia, the Minister Delegate to the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs gave a speech in Sydney to the French community, as he had promised to do during each trip. After the pandemic sequence which isolated our compatriots for long months from France, Olivier Becht came to carry a message of solidarity and “return to normal”. A situation appreciated by the expatriates on the spot who are more and more numerous, the country attracting enormously the under 30s. The Minister also took the opportunity to discuss the potential trip of the President of the Republic to the island-continent in November.
In Singapore, in search of rare earths
In Singapore, the world’s second largest port and fourth recipient of French foreign direct investment (FDI) flows, Minister Olivier Becht continued his quest for rare earths. He thus discussed with the authorities of the City-State and the main shipowners the opportunities for France to diversify its supply chains, particularly in terms of these famous critical metals.
But that’s not all, Olivier Becht returned to Paris with something concrete. With the Minister in charge of trade relations of Singapore, S.Iswaranthey adopted the France-Singapore Digital and Green Partnership (DGP) work plan, covering areas such as a co-innovation program to support joint R&D projects by Singapore and French companies, Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence, and Heritage Conservation Labeling.
In Indonesia, conquering a new market
In Indonesia, France wants to support the economic recovery that is taking place in this country of more than 270 million inhabitants, and in particular offer its expertise in the field of renewable energies, digital technology and urban development.
The Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade extended his stay there to also participate in the meeting of G20 trade ministers in Bali from September 21 to 23, 2022. There he reaffirmed France’s commitment to promoting free and fair trade , based on the rules of the multilateral system.
In the capital Jakarta, Olivier Becht also organized a meeting with the French community there. Small community, but well organized and which knows how to make itself heard, it is from there that the Facebook group “Mécontents de la CFE” is piloted.
But Olivier Becht’s speech was on the tone of enthusiasm and economic mobilization. Thus, he recalled once again that “French people abroad are the standard bearers and ambassadors of France”. He asked them to participate actively in French objectives. Our country, in fact, would like to export more in the region and in particular via SMEs. For this, he said that French players are ready to invest in the Indonesian market. As a reminder, this emerging market is the 4th most populated in the world. Conversely, there are still few Indonesian investments in France, so Olivier Becht asked our compatriots to promote our country and its economy.
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First international tour for Olivier Becht
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