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Vietnam - France Business Conference held in Paris

Released at: 13:46, 06/11/2019

Vietnam - France Business Conference held in Paris

Photo: MPI

November 4 conference aimed to connect State agencies and Vietnamese and French enterprises.

by Minh Do

France and Vietnam both spoke highly of the latter’s socioeconomic achievements, particularly breakthroughs in institution- and policy-related openness as well as bilateral trade growth and cooperation and investment relations, at the Vietnam - France Business Conference jointly organized by the Movement of the Enterprises of France (MEDEF) and the France - Vietnam Council of CEOs MEDEF International on November 4 in Paris.

The conference was co-chaired by Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Vu Dai Thang and Vice President of the France - Vietnam Council of CEOs MEDEF International, Ms. Céline Charpiot-Zapolsky.

On the French side were representatives from relevant agencies and more than 50 large French corporations and companies and members of MEDEF such as the Total Group, Bouygues Construction, Airbus, Safran, Airliquide, and Canal + International.

On the Vietnamese side were representatives from ministries, branches and localities, the Embassy of Vietnam in France, and a number of enterprises such as Vingroup and Becamex Binh Duong.

The conference aimed at connecting State agencies and Vietnamese and French enterprises in the framework of the 6th High-level Vietnam-France Economic Dialogue events, as well as enhancing links between the two countries in terms of diplomacy, investment, trade, tourism, culture, and science.

Minister Thang emphasized that the relationship between Vietnam and France is in its best period of development since the two countries signed the Joint Statement on Strategic Partnership in 2013.

He said Vietnam is currently a country that many French businesses are interested in investing and doing business in. In 1988, when Vietnam’s first Foreign Investment Law came into effect, French enterprises pioneered the overcoming of the US embargo to become the first foreign investors in the country. As at October 20, 2019, France ranked 16 out of 132 countries and territories investing in Vietnam, with 551 valid projects and total investment of $3.58 billion.

French investment focuses mainly on the fields of electricity and energy, with 12 projects and $1.14 billion, accounting for 31.8 per cent of total capital, followed by the processing and manufacturing industry, with 129 projects and $999.2 million accounting for 28 per cent of total capital.

France is one of the three leading countries in terms of European capital flows into Vietnam, along with the Netherlands and the UK, contributing to economic growth, job creation, and ensuring social security. Vietnamese enterprises have also invested in France, with 14 projects and total investment of $5.82 million.

Along with investment activities, trade between the two is also constantly increasing. In 2008, total turnover was $1.8 billion, but ten years later had tripled to $5.1 billion. In the first nine months of this year, total trade reached $4.01 billion, up 7.34 per cent year-on-year, making France one of the five most important trade partners of Vietnam in the EU, along with Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, and Italy.

There have been fundamental changes and a rapid increase in purchasing power based on per capita income, the Minister went on. Vietnam’s GDP is close to $300 billion. The middle class accounts for 15 per cent of the population and is growing fast, creating a market with an attractive retail development index that ranks sixth globally according to A.T.Kearney. By 2025, 49 per cent of the population will live in urban areas and the percentage of high-income households will increase to nearly 25 per cent. He believes that the Vietnamese market is large enough for successful French businesses.

Vietnam has signed 18 bilateral agreements with France in many fields, such as investment, tourism, maritime, science and technology, health, and justice. Regarding the EU, Vietnam was the second ASEAN country, after Singapore, and the first developing country in Asia to sign a free trade agreement (the EVFTA) and an investment protection agreement (the EVIPA) with the bloc, opening up more opportunities for Vietnamese and French investors to access each other’s market. With a commitment from both sides to eliminate import tariffs on nearly 100 per cent of goods, opportunities for Vietnam and EU member countries abound.

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