08:19 | 02/10/2016 Cooperation
(VEN) - French President Francois Hollande’s recent official visit to Vietnam has strengthened the strategic partnership between the two countries, and created new economic cooperation opportunities between a developed European country and a dynamic developing country in Asia.
At his talk with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang, the two leaders affirmed that economic cooperation continued to be a pillar of bilateral relations and emphasized the necessity of increasing cooperation in major infrastructure, energy, aviation, medical, pharmaceutical, environmental, agricultural, and food processing projects.
The two sides also laid stress on the importance of the annual senior economic dialogue in accelerating economic-trade cooperation between Vietnam and France. The fourth senior economic dialogue in Paris this July showed that Vietnam and France need to continue developing key cooperation orientations that meet the current requirements of the two countries. The two leaders agreed to boost the early signing and ratification of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement and considered it a driving force of economic and trade cooperation between the two countries.
President Hollande affirmed the French government’s commitment to maintain official development assistance (ODA) for Vietnam. The two sides agreed to continue creating favorable conditions for businesses of the two countries to promote cooperation towards building partnerships for mutual benefits.
France currently is Vietnam’s fifth largest partner in the EU and one of the major bilateral ODA providers for Vietnam. The latest data from the General Department of Vietnam Customs show that Vietnam exported to France nearly US$1.62 billion worth of goods in the first seven months of 2016, an increase of US$21 million compared to the same period last year. On the other side, Vietnam imported more than US$612 million from this market, down US$122 million. These results mean Vietnam had a trade surplus of more than US$1 billion with France in the first seven months of this year.
France is the third largest European investor in Vietnam, with total investment of US$3.4 billion. Nearly 300 French businesses are operated in Vietnam in fields such as aviation, urban transport, energy, pharmacy, and new technology.
President Hollande said France gives priority to increasing economic cooperation with Vietnam and wishes Vietnam will continue creating favorable conditions for French businesses to have successful long-term investments in Vietnam. “I hope my visit will help increasing the presence of French businesses in Vietnam and facilitate Vietnamese businesses’ access to our market,” he said.
The French President affirmed France will continue assisting Vietnam in high demanding fields, including coping with climate change and sea level rise, and protecting the ecological environment. France also wants to boost bilateral cooperation in science and technology, education and training, agriculture, pharmacy, culture, and people-to-people exchange.
Addressing a Vietnam-France business forum held in the framework of the visit, Martine Pinville, Minister of State for Commerce, Small-scale Industry, Consumer Affairs and the Social and Solidarity Economy, said Vietnam is the fastest growing economy in Southeast Asia. In this region Vietnam ranks behind only Singapore in terms of market opening as it has joined a number of free trade agreements. A large number of Vietnamese people currently live, study, or work in France. For France, Vietnam holds a special position in Asia. With its historical and cultural values as well as dynamism and optimism, Vietnam will continue to be an attractive country to the French people.
A number of bilateral cooperation documents and contracts have been signed during the French President’s visit to Vietnam. These include agreements on judicial interdependence and extradition, and administrative agreements between the public security, home affairs, and justice ministries of the two countries. The two sides also signed memorandums of understanding on cooperation in management of water resources, adaptation to climate change, space, agriculture, highway, and French language teaching. Vietnam Airlines signed a contract to buy 10 Airbus A350 airplanes; VietJet Air signed a contract to buy 29 A321 airplanes; and JetStar Pacific signed a contract to buy 10 A320 airplanes.
Two other cooperation agreements were signed at the Vietnam-France business forum. SANOFI, a French multinational pharmaceutical company, signed an agreement to expand and strengthen its partnership established in 1993 with the Vietnam Pharmaceutical Corporation (Vinapharm). NEOVIA Vietnam, the Grimaud Group, the Boucher Company, and the Animal Husbandry Association of Vietnam signed an agreement to set up sustainable swine production systems in the Mekong Delta.
On the occasion of French President Francois Hollande’s visit to Vietnam, French Minister of State for Commerce, Small-scale Industry, Consumer Affairs and the Social and Solidarity Economy Martine Pinville, and French Ambassador for International Investment, Chief Executive Officer of Business France and the French Agency for International Business Development Muriel Penicaud presented a program entitled Creative France. This program aims at promoting the global image of France through the creativity of French businesses. Professor Ngo Bao Chau represents Vietnam in the program.