Vietnam, France celebrate 45 years of cooperation

14:09 | 06/03/2018 Cooperation

(VEN) - In the 45 years since the two countries established diplomatic relations, the cooperation between Vietnam and France has yielded noteworthy results, especially since a strategic partnership was announced in 2013. Bilateral relations will be promoted further, especially in the field of trade and investment.

vietnam france celebrate 45 years of cooperation
Head of the Vietnam Communist Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations, Hoang Binh Quan (right), and Minister of State attached to the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean Baptise LeMoyne, unveil the official logo of the 45th anniversary of Vietnam-France diplomatic ties

Economic cooperation pillar

The year 2018 marks the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the fifth anniversary of the strategic partnership between Vietnam and France. France currently is Vietnam’s fifth largest EU partner and one of its leading official development assistance (ODA) providers.

Bilateral trade reached US$4.6 billion in 2017, a rise of 11.6 percent compared with 2016, mostly including Vietnamese exports to France.

By the end of 2017, Vietnam had attracted US$2.78 billion of French foreign direct investment, which placed France 16th among 128 countries and territories investing in Vietnam. Meanwhile, Vietnamese businesses have invested US$3.46 million in France through nine projects.

According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, France is a major EU provider of ODA for Vietnam, with more than two billion euros disbursed over the past 10 years. French ODA is concentrated in fields such as finance, health, education, transport, rural infrastructure and vocational training.

Major French ODA-funded projects in Vietnam include Hanoi’s urban railway route No. 3, which is considered a highlight of Vietnam-France cooperation. Through this and other ODA projects, France is willing to share with Vietnam its development experiences in strategic sectors.

Room for more

Bilateral cooperation achievements reflect the efforts of both sides and their mutual understanding. The two countries have taken advantage of their strengths to maintain effective coordination for mutual benefits. So far, Vietnam and France have signed almost all necessary legal documents for expanding cooperation, including a framework agreement on economic cooperation, an agreement on investment encouragement and protection, an agreement on avoidance of double taxation, and a number of cooperation deals in other specific fields. The free trade agreement between Vietnam and the EU, which is expected to be signed this year, will contribute to boosting economic and trade cooperation between the two countries, as well as facilitate business access to each other’s markets.

At a meeting with the media during his recent visit to Vietnam, Jean Baptise LeMoyne, Minister of State attached to the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, said there’s still much room for the two countries to expand cooperation. The per capita income of Vietnamese people has tripled in recent years. The Vietnamese economy has grown impressively. Sharing many similarities and ambitions will provide opportunities for Vietnam and France to deepen and expand cooperation, he said. Therefore, he believes the two countries should increase diplomatic, economic, trade, education and investment exchanges in the coming period.

LeMoyne added that France will develop three cooperation projects with Vietnam in 2018, including the construction of a new French school in Hanoi, and a French House and general clinic in Ho Chi Minh City.

LeMoyne said he is awaiting a visit by Vietnamese Communist Party Leader Nguyen Phu Trong to France next spring. He believes high-ranking visits on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties reflect the importance of bilateral relations.

The French Embassy in Vietnam recently organized a ceremony to kick off events celebrating the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations (1973-2018) and the fifth anniversary of the strategic partnership (2013-2018) between the two countries. The official logo of 45 years of Vietnam-France bilateral ties presented on that occasion features the image of a Vietnamese woman wearing a “non la” (palm-leaf conical hat) and a red “ao dai” (traditional dress) holding hands with a French woman wearing a beret and a white blue plaid dress. It will be displayed at all the anniversary events.

Nguyen Huong