Bangladesh Signs $3.2 Billion Deal with France for Airbus aircraft

Bangladesh and France have signed a deal for the purchase of 10 Airbus aircraft worth $3.2 billion. French President Emmanuel Macron visited Dhaka, marking the first visit by a French president in 33 years. The deal is seen as part of Paris’ efforts to strengthen its Asia-Pacific strategy and counterbalance China’s growing influence in the region. Macron emphasized the importance of democratic principles and the rule of law in the face of “new imperialism.” He stated that France’s strategy focuses on strengthening the independence and strategic autonomy of its partners.

During the visit, Macron and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina discussed Bangladesh’s commitment to purchasing ten A350s from Airbus, potentially worth $3.2 billion. The Bangladesh flag carrier, Biman Airline, previously bought aircraft from Boeing. Macron commended Bangladesh’s trust in the European aerospace industry and stated the significance of the commitment to purchase Airbus A350s.

Additionally, a letter of intent was signed for the provision of an earth observation satellite system to Bangladesh. The satellite system, to be procured from Airbus Defense and Space SAS in cooperation with Bangladesh Satellite Company Limited, will primarily be used for monitoring crops and the sea.

Macron’s visit to Bangladesh is part of France’s strategy to cultivate ties with the country amid competition from global superpowers like China, Russia, and the United States. France is currently Bangladesh’s fifth-largest trading partner in sectors such as engineering, energy, aerospace, and water. Macron expressed his hopes for the strategic move between the two countries to contribute to regional and global stability and peace.

Prime Minister Hasina emphasized the importance of continued collaboration between Bangladesh and France to ensure stability in the Asia-Pacific region and address the impacts of climate change. France has reiterated its commitment to facilitating trade with Bangladesh through the European Union’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) scheme.

Trade between Bangladesh and France has been steadily growing since the 1990s, with France now ranking as Bangladesh’s fifth-largest export destination. Macron praised Bangladesh’s rapid economic growth and its success as the world’s eighth most populous country.

The bilateral talks between Macron and Hasina took place after Macron’s visit to a memorial honoring Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh’s Father of the Nation and first president. Hasina regarded Macron’s visit as a breath of fresh air in international politics. Macron’s visit to Bangladesh follows his trips to Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, and Sri Lanka as part of France’s Indo-Pacific strategy.

The Bangladesh-France deal further advances the bilateral relationship, with the aim of promoting regional and global stability, strengthening economic ties, and addressing the challenges of climate change.