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Vietnam Today

French PM pays official visit to Vietnam

Released at: 16:12, 03/11/2018

French PM pays official visit to Vietnam

Photo from internet

Mr. Édouard Philippe in Vietnam from November 2 to 4.

by Long Van

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his French counterpart Édouard Philippe affirmed their resolve to further deepen the strategic partnership between the two countries during their talks in Hanoi on November 2, according to a report from the government’s online newspaper. The French Prime Minister is visiting from November 2 to 4.

The two Prime Ministers agreed to foster contacts and exchanges, especially high-level, and promote the role of coordinating cooperation mechanisms across politics, economics, defense, science and technology, culture, and education.

The two sides affirmed economic cooperation will remain a priority area of bilateral ties. In this regard, Prime Minister Philippe voiced his support for the early signing and ratification of the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement, adding that France will continue its development assistance for Vietnam into the future.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) shakes hands with his French counterpart Edouard Philippe in Hanoi on November 2 (Photo: VNA)

The two leaders agreed to encourage businesses from the two countries to enhance partnerships in priority domains in Vietnam, such as infrastructure, energy, aviation, healthcare, climate change adaptation, and smart city development.

Both agreed to step up cooperation in such new fields as e-government development and the modernization of State governance, underlining the importance of education and training as well as cultural cooperation.

The two leaders pledged to enhance collaboration to ensure the success of the eleventh local-to-local cooperation conference, scheduled to take place in Toulouse in April next year.

The two also agreed to strengthen coordination at multilateral forums, especially the UN and the Francophone community, and in global issues, particularly climate change adaptation.

They stressed the importance of maintaining peace and stability and accelerating cooperation at both the regional and international levels, reaffirming their commitment to ensuring freedom of navigation and aviation and the peaceful settlement of disputes in the East Sea on the basis of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Prime Minister Philippe said that France expects to play a greater role in the Asia-Pacific region.

The same day, Prime Minister Phuc and Prime Minister Philippe witnessed the signing of a number of cooperation documents on e-government development, healthcare, and environmental protection, as well as a contract for the purchase of Airbus aircraft.

According to reports from the Vietnam News Agency (VNA), Prime Minister Philippe was received by Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong on November 2 and then by National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.

In its article on the visit, VNA noted that Vietnam and France set up diplomatic ties on April 12, 1973 and signed a joint declaration on a Strategic Partnership 40 years later, in 2013. Vietnam always attaches importance to its traditional friendship and cooperation with France and exerts efforts to deepen the bilateral strategic partnership.

In the past, both sides have maintained the exchange of high-level delegations and bilateral cooperation mechanisms, such as a strategic dialogue on security and defense between the two countries’ foreign and defense ministries and an annual high-level dialogue on economic affairs.

In the field of security and defense, France was the first Western nation to appoint a defense attaché in Vietnam, in 1991. The relationship in this field has developed well, reflected through regular delegation exchanges. In recent visits by the two defense ministers, the two sides agreed on a bilateral strategic partnership in defense.

In terms of economic, trade and investment cooperation, France is Vietnam’s fifth-largest trade partner in Europe, following Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and Italy. Two-way trade hit $4.6 billion in 2017, up 11.6 per cent from 2016. Of this, $3.35 billion was from Vietnam’s exports, mostly footwear, garment and textiles, ceramics, rattan goods, seafood, machinery and electronic parts. Vietnam imported $1.27 billion worth of aviation equipment, industrial machinery, pharmaceutical and agricultural products, food, and cosmetics from France.

Bilateral trade in the first six months of this year came to $2.3 billion.

Last year, France ranked third among European nations and 16th out of 114 countries and territories investing in Vietnam, with 512 valid investments projects worth $2.8 billion. The country’s direct investments in Vietnam focus on information and communications and manufacturing and processing, and are found in 36 localities. Vietnamese investors currently have nine projects in France, with total registered capital of $3.04 million.

France is Vietnam’s leading ODA provider in Europe and Vietnam ranks second among the recipients of French ODA in Asia, with a total $18.4 billion committed since 1993. Vietnam is also among only a few countries receiving assistance from all three of France’s financial aid channels: ODA, and preferential loans from both the French Development Agency (AFD) and the Priority Solidarity Fund (FSP). France has provided Vietnam with €2.2 billion ($2.49 billion) in aid and preferential loans to date.

Cooperation in education and training between the two countries has formed and developed since the 1980s. France always considers education and training a priority in its cooperation activities in Vietnam, with the focus on the teaching of the French language and human resources training in the fields of economic management, banking, finance, law and new technology. Every year, France provides 80 scholarships for Vietnamese students in order to help Vietnam train high-quality human resources. Over the past decade, the number of Vietnamese students studying in France has risen by around 40 per cent. France ranks third in receiving Vietnamese students, with over 7,000.

The two countries’ cultural exchange has been thriving as well. The French Government provides about €5 million ($5.6 million) for cultural cooperation activities with Vietnam each year. The country also ranks seventh among all countries and territories investing in Vietnam’s tourism sector, with 14 projects worth $188 million.

Meanwhile, bilateral collaboration in science and technology has been implemented through projects funded by the Priority Solidarity Fund. The two governments signed an agreement on science and technology cooperation in March 2007, thus creating favorable conditions for experts, offices, and organizations to intensify cooperation.

In November 2009, the two sides inked a cooperation agreement on using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Moreover, cooperation between localities has become a typical feature in Vietnam-France relations, with 38 French localities setting up partnerships with 18 Vietnamese cities and provinces.

In the field of health, the two countries have 30 cooperation projects, with priority given to training.

There are currently some 300,000 Vietnamese people living in France.

Prime Minister Philippe’s visit takes place at a time when the two countries are celebrating the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties and the fifth anniversary of the Strategic Partnership.

The visit is expected to boost political and diplomatic ties, expand economic and trade cooperation, and step up collaboration in security and defense, education and training, science and technology, and energy.


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