Victorian gov’t forges key economic alliance with France

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Image Credit: www.premier.vic.gov.au

The Victorian Government has initiated a significant new partnership with France that will enhance the economic ties between the state and a crucial European ally.

Treasurer Tim Pallas announced today the signing of a Letter of Intent between Victoria and France, aiming to foster trade and investment ties across various sectors, the government said in a news release.

The agreement, inked by France’s Ambassador to Australia, Jean-Pierre Thébault, marks a strategic initiative to prioritize mutual policy priorities such as energy transition, science, innovation and technology, culture, sport and education, and health.

The French-Australian Centre for Energy Transition, hosted by Swinburne University of Technology, served as the backdrop for the announcement, reflecting the shared commitment to advancing sustainability and technological innovation.

With two-way merchandise trade valued at $2.1 billion in the fiscal year 2022-23, France stands as a pivotal trading partner for Victoria.

Notably, France has been a major investor in the state, contributing $5.4 billion in capital over the past six years and generating more than 1,300 jobs.

This investment influx has been driven by the appeal of Victoria as a strategic hub for foreign companies, the government revealed.

Key French organisations, including the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and electric utility company EDF, have recently chosen Melbourne as the location for their Australian headquarters.

Victoria’s commitment to expanding global economic opportunities is evident through its extensive network of 24 trade and investment offices worldwide – the largest operated by an Australian state.

In line with this initiative, the state opened a Trade and Investment office in Paris this year to enhance economic ties and showcase Victorian businesses in the European Union.

The Paris office has played an active role in facilitating trade missions, including the Australian Sports Technology Mission to Paris, Lausanne, Frankfurt, and Ghent, as well as the Vivatech Trade Mission to Paris, both conducted since March.

These initiatives aim to promote collaboration, innovation, and investment between Victorian businesses and their French counterparts.

Treasurer Tim Pallas expressed that the collaborative trade and investment approach between Victoria and France, both pioneers in innovation, is contributing to job creation in Victoria and fostering opportunities for business expansion.

“We recognise the importance of France on the world stage and the strong relationship that Victoria and France share is set to grow further,” Pallas noted.

The French Ambassador to Australia, Jean-Pierre Thébault, highlighted the historical significance of the Letter of Intent, which marks the first of its kind between France and an Australian state or territory.

He noted that it outlines an ambitious framework for cooperation between France and Victoria.

The signing of the Letter of Intent coincides with the visit of the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna, to Australia, underscoring the commitment of both regions to fostering a dynamic and prosperous economic partnership.