Establishing a sovereign defence capability and promoting Australian defence exports were the key topics of discussion during Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne’s latest trip to France.
Minister Pyne travelled to Paris from 1-2 November 2017 to meet France’s new Minister for the Armed Forces Florence Parly to discuss bilateral defence materiel co-operation.
Minister Pyne said establishing this new relationship early was important to the future strategic direction of Australia’s defence industry.
"France is one of Australia’s most important defence relationships on continental Europe and has substantial experience in maintaining a sovereign defence industry," Minister Pyne said.
France's Naval Group, formerly DCNS, will play a key part in developing this sovereign industry as the designer and builder of Australia's $50 billion Future Submarines.
"The $50 billion Future Submarine Program represents a strategic partnership between Australia and France that will last for generations to come," Minister Pyne said.
"We have much to learn and share with each other as we seek the same goal – a sovereign defence capability which will in turn create jobs and spur growth in the economy.
"The relationship is by no means one way and during my visit I have sought to promote Australia’s own world-class defence exports to France."
As part of the visit, Minister Pyne also met with French and Australian industry and Australia’s defence attaches, gathered in Paris from across the region to discuss opportunities to collaborate on future defence capability.
"Our defence attaches are some of our best and brightest, and they play the vital role of promoting our exports overseas," Minister Pyne said.
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"I impressed upon them the government’s firm commitment to making defence industry a vital part of the defence of Australia, as well as a pillar of the Australian economy into the future."
Minister Pyne also met with General Joël Barre, the head of France’s defence procurement and technology agency.
"Australia and France are looking to explore wider areas of science and technology cooperation," Minister Pyne said.
"Our bilateral defence materiel co-operation goes from strength-to-strength and I enjoyed discussing a range of new opportunities with General Barre."