Thursday, March 28, 2013

Secretary Kerry Visits France—America’s Oldest Ally

Christopher Palmer serves as Deputy Spokesperson at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France.

Secretary of State John Kerry's airplane touched down at Le Bourget airport on the evening of March 26. The morning of March 27, Secretary Kerry and his French counterpart Laurent Fabius met for 90 minutes over breakfast at the French Foreign Ministry. Secretary Kerry and Minister Fabius had plenty to discuss: Mali, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, the Middle East Peace Process. The exchange was what professional diplomats call a "working meeting" -- a focused, in-depth, and candid discussion.

Following his meeting at the Foreign Ministry, Secretary Kerry traveled to the other side of the Seine, where he met at Ambassador Rivkin's residence with a group of prominent French business leaders from many different sectors of the economy. Our nations share the common goal of global economic prosperity and our bilateral trade relationship alone has already created hundreds of thousands of jobs for American and French workers.The total trade of goods between France and the United States in 2012 was $72.4 billion, an increase of 6.8 percent over 2011.The United States is France's top non-EU export destination, and France is among the United States' top ten trading partners.

Secretary Kerry and the business leaders discussed expanding opportunity and employment through increased transatlantic trade, and President Obama's goal of negotiating with the European Union a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Secretary Kerry stressed that expanding trade and investment between the United States, France, and the rest of the EU, will help unlock new potential for growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic -- a point of view that the business leaders heartily endorsed.

The Secretary left Paris from Le Bourget later that afternoon. His visit to France was the last stop before returning to the United States after a busy and productive overseas itinerary. It was his second visit to France as Secretary of State. During his first official visit, just one month ago, the Secretary recalled the important ties that unite our two countries. He said, "France helped shape America to be what it is today." America and France will continue to work together to solve common challenges and to profit from shared opportunities, just as we have done for more than two centuries. The team at U.S. Embassy Paris looks forward to many more visits to France by Secretary Kerry.

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