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Vietnam Today

Party Chief in France

Released at: 10:35, 28/03/2018

Party Chief in France

Party Chief Nguyen Phu Trong (3rd from left) and President Emmanuel Macron (3rd from right) during their talks in Paris on March 27 (Photo: VNA)

In meeting with French President on March 27, the two countries pledged to boost cooperation in investment in high technology, clean energy, organic agriculture, and the digital industry.

by Long Van

During their talks in Paris on March 27, French President Emmanuel Macron told General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong that he wants to strengthen the strategic partnership with Vietnam, the Vietnam News Agency reports.

Party Chief Trong paid an official visit to France from March 25 to 27 at the invitation of President Macron.  

The visit, where he is accompanied by a high-ranking delegation, takes place at a special time for the bilateral relations, the French President said.

He recognized the socioeconomic development achievements Vietnam has recorded over recent years.

General Secretary Trong said he was happy to visit France once again and thanked the French President, French authorities, and the French people for their warm welcome.

He expressed his regard for the role and position of France in Europe and the world, saying that Vietnam considers the development of friendly cooperation with the country a top priority in its external affairs policy.

He took the occasion to thank France for its support in all aspects.

The two leaders agreed that disputes should be addressed via peaceful means and international law and countries’ roles and responsibilities should be promoted for regional peace, security and development.

The two sides discussed measures to establish frameworks and orientations to create new momentum for a deeper strategic partnership, opening up a new phase of development in bilateral relations.

They underlined the long-standing special relationship between Vietnam and France and their historical, cultural and social closeness, and expressed their pleasure at the growing 45 years of diplomatic ties and the five-year strategic partnership.

The two countries are witnessing the best development period to date, with comprehensive and effective cooperation created in all fields, which serve as an important driving force in elevating ties to a new height, they noted.

To step up strategic cooperation and create change to improve the efficiency of cooperation in all fields, the two leaders agreed to maintain and increase high-level contacts and meetings, improve the efficiency of dialogue and cooperative mechanisms, expand affiliations across the board, increase people-to-people exchanges and locality-to-locality partnerships, and boost coordination in regional and international issues of mutual concern.

President Macron asked Vietnam to provide favorable conditions for French businesses to invest and conduct cooperative projects in Vietnam, enhance cooperation in defense and security and personnel training, and boost parliamentary cooperation.

The Party Chief expressed a wish that Vietnam would receive efficient assistance and cooperation from France.

The two leaders shared a view that economic, trade and investment cooperation between the two countries has grown positively but is yet to match their sound political ties or potential.

As such, they agreed to step up practical measures to boost trade, exchange measures to speed up important cooperation projects in telecommunications, energy, aviation, safe drinking water, climate change, and the environment, and seek supportive measures to enable market entry for their businesses.

They agreed that the two countries enjoy the conditions necessary to boost cooperation in investment in high technology, clean energy, organic agriculture, and the digital industry.

Measures to boost cooperation in science and technology, healthcare, energy, and education and training were also on the table. President Macron suggested the establishment of French schools in Vietnam.

They agreed to speed up the signing and ratification of the free trade agreement between Vietnam and the EU in 2018, creating new momentum for economic, trade and investment cooperation between the two countries.

The two hailed the significant contributions to bilateral ties from the Vietnamese community in France. General Secretary Trong said he hopes that France will continue its support to Vietnamese nationals in the country so they can further contribute to relations.

The Party Chief invited the French President to visit Vietnam at a convenient time, which was accepted with pleasure.

On the same day, at a meeting with representatives from the Movement of Enterprises of France (MEDEF) in Paris, General Secretary Trong expressed a hope that French enterprises would be successful in Vietnam.

The event was attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh and Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh, together with businesses and major groups from both countries.

MEDEF President Pierre Gattaz expressed his honor at welcoming the Vietnamese Party Chief and the delegation, saying their presence at the meeting demonstrates the importance of Vietnam-France relations.

The signing and enforcement of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) will make significant contributions to intensifying the economic and trade links between Vietnam and the EU and France in particular, he said, adding that many French businesses attending the meeting have signed major contracts with Vietnamese partners.

He said Vietnam is on the path towards becoming an Asian tiger with sustainable economic development, thanks to the government’s policy of extensive and intensive international integration and endeavors to reform the institutional system to make it a more attractive market for French companies.

More than 200 French businesses are now active in Vietnam. The remarkable economic growth and rising middle class in the country have opened up enormous cooperation opportunities for overseas investors, including those from France, he said.

General Secretary Trong said France has always been a pioneer among Western countries in boosting relations with Vietnam over the last 45 years. Bilateral political ties and cooperation and exchanges in all fields have been growing well and the two became strategic partners five years ago. Many French firms have been operating effectively in Vietnam, he said.

However, the level of economic, trade and investment cooperation has much room to grow and this visit aims to seek measures to step up bilateral cooperation.

He noted that after 30 years of reform, Vietnam has emerged as a market of great potential, with nearly 100 million people and a “golden population structure”. Annual economic growth is estimated at more than 7 per cent over the last 30 years and trade hit $425 billion in 2017.

Vietnam is forging ahead with administrative reforms and improving its business environment. It moved up five places in the competitiveness index and 14 places in terms of business environment in the 2017 rankings from the World Economic Forum (WEF). Its macroeconomy has remained stable, with GDP growth reaching 6.81 per cent. Foreign currency reserves and FDI attraction are at record levels, the Party Chief said.

Vietnam is also a highly open economy and a member of many bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements, including the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). It is now finalizing the free trade deal with the EU, he added.

He underlined the huge potential for cooperation between Vietnamese and French companies, adding that Vietnam is accelerating its modernization and industrialization, restructuring its economy, and changing its growth model towards focusing on quality and sustainability. 

Vietnam gives priority to and encourages the development of high-tech industries, green technology, clean energy, biological and organic agriculture, the digital economy, e-government, healthcare, culture, and education, he said.

It is keen to beef up cooperation with French companies and hopes this will grow in the time to come.

It welcomes and highly values investment projects from foreign businesses that accord with its development orientations and investment attraction policies.

Vietnamese authorities from the central to local level will create the best conditions possible and ensure the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors, he affirmed.

Speaking at the meeting, representatives from major French businesses thanked the Vietnamese Government for supporting them in carrying out investment and businesses projects. They hope to improve and expand investment cooperation with many new projects in the country.

French investors shared the view that Vietnam has posted stable economic growth and made efforts to improve its investment and business climate, thus opening up numerous opportunities for long-term partnerships. French businesses wish to do business effectively, contribute to local economic development, and bring practical benefits to the Vietnamese people.

Representatives from the Vietnamese Government and French businesses discussed concrete issues in seeking effective cooperation in all fields.

At MEDEF’s headquarters, General Secretary Trong witnessed the exchange of cooperation documents between businesses from the two countries. 

Vietjet Air and French group Safran - CFM signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on comprehensive cooperation in providing engines and technical and maintenance services for Vietjet’s fleet worth $6.5 billion.

Other cooperation documents included a contract between Vietjet and Gecas France on buying six A321neo aircraft worth $800 million on hire-purchase, an MoU between FPT and Airbus on building capacity and consulting staff and developing Airbus’s Skywise data platform, an MoU between FPT and Geopost on helping to modernize IT systems and improving Geopost’s operational efficiency, and a cooperation agreement between the T&T Group and Bouygues on upgrading Hang Day Stadium in Hanoi.

Earlier, on March 26, Vietnam Airlines and Air France Industries KLM Engineering and Maintenance (AFM KLM E&M) inked an agreement for the maintenance of Boeing 787-9 engines worth $500 million.

The signing was witnessed by the President of France’s National Assembly Francois de Rugy and General Secretary Trong.

AFM KLM E&M will maintain 20 GEnx engines of Vietnam Airlines for 12 years and provide the carrier with spare engine access to guarantee the seamless continuity of its operations.

The event marks efforts made by Vietnam’s aviation sector in fulfilling its role as an economic bridge between Europe and Asia over the last two decades. 

The signing took place with Vietnam and France celebrating the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties. France has committed to supporting Vietnam in establishing a comprehensive relationship with the EU and Vietnam will help France and other EU nations become partners of ASEAN countries. 

Mr. Duong Tri Thanh, General Director of Vietnam Airlines, told the Lao Dong (Labor) newspaper that it is proud to be the only Vietnamese carrier to operate direct flights between Vietnam and France over the last 15 years. Ten flights are now operated each week.

Vietnam Airlines has always regarded France as a strategic market to access Europe and North America, he said. 

It opened a representative office in France 25 years ago. On July 2, 1994, it launched flights between Vietnam and France via Dubai, using Boeing 767 aircraft. Ten years later, the carrier opened non-stop routes from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Paris. 

Thanks to such efforts, the number of Vietnam Airlines’ passengers traveling to and from France has increased sharply, from 800,000 during the 1994-2003 period to about 3.2 million over the following ten years. 

In 2018, the carrier is expected to transport 4 million passengers on the Vietnam-France route.

At the end of 2017, Vietnam Airlines signed a joint venture deal with Air France to meet the travel demand of passengers and help increase economic ties between the two countries as well as Southeast Asia and Europe. 

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