French consul eyes growing opportunities in Macau-France trade

Christile Drulhe, Consul-general of France in Hong Kong and Macau

The city’s development strategy targeting economic diversification will benefit French businesses already operating or which will operate in Macau, Christile Drulhe, Consul-general of France in Hong Kong and Macau, has this week commented.

Drulhe assumed her position in September last year. Her first visit to Macau after commencing in the position was last month to meet with the French community here. She recently paid another visit to Macau to attend a cocktail reception organized by the France Macau Chamber of Commerce (FMCC).

When asked her predictions about the momentum in trade after the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, she said she is confident that economic exchange will become increasingly frequent.

Highlighting the long-time partnership and collaboration between Macau and France, Drulhe pointed out that France is the second largest exporter to Macau during Covid-19, only after mainland China, on whom Macau relies highly for food and daily products. The Consulate and the government of France will “build on this momentum” and further improve trade between the two jurisdictions.

She added that Beijing’s and Macau’s desire to diversify Macau’s economy will certainly help French businesses further thrive in the city. “Many French companies have been in Macau for a long time, especially in infrastructure, hotel, catering and luxury goods,” said the consul-general. “The strategy of economic diversification will create more opportunities for French businesses, including those in creative, cultural and innovation industries.”

With the local government emphasizing attracting foreign tourists, the consul-general also expressed her confidence that Macau’s charm will attract French travelers and tourists, despite the long journey. “Macau is a unique place in history and culture,” she said, adding that these qualities appeal to French people.

Accompanying the consul-general on this recent trip is Philippe Baudry, head of the  Economic Department of the Consulate. Baudry added to Drulhe’s answer, saying that the gastronomy in Macau will also help attract people from France.

Mentioning gastronomy, the French consul-general announced that her government is ready to help arrange visits of French culinary stars to Macau to share their expert knowledge with students here, especially at the Macao Institute for Tourism Studies (IFTM).

Drulhe emphasized that it is the consulate’s mission to encourage exchanges between Macau and France. She hinted that work had been difficult in the past few years as Covid-19 restrictions were in place, blocking channels for physical interactions.

Commenting on the impression of Macau’s economic position during this latest visit, Baudry said that he could see that tourists, especially those from mainland China, have started returning. “Definitely this will give some impetus to the world,” said he. “We do hope that with Macau seeing more activities, French businesses can benefit from [the situation].

The consul-general revealed that the local French community had shrunk from 300 to 150 in the past three years. It was mainly caused by Covid-19 restrictions. Many of them left Macau to reunite with families but could not return to Macau.

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