The official visit is the first exchange activity of the parliamentary senior leaders right after the COVID-19 pandemic was controlled.
The visit aims to further consolidate and deepen the strategic partnership between the two countries as well as the friendship and cooperation between Vietnamese National Assembly and the French Parliament.
Vietnam and France established diplomatic relations in April 1973. Since the late 1980s, France has taken the lead in Western countries in opening relations and forgiving debts for Vietnam, helping the country deal with debt to creditors in the Paris Club. On the occasion of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung's visit to France in 2013, the two countries signed a Joint Statement on the Vietnam-France Strategic Partnership. The good political relationship between the two countries was marked by high-ranking visits. The two countries have maintained many cooperation mechanisms, notably the Strategic Defence Security Dialogue and the annual High-Level Economic Dialogue.
We are pleased to see that Vietnam-France economic cooperation relationship has been developed well. France is the fifth largest European trading partner of Vietnam with a trade turnover of 4.8 billion USD in 2021. By the end of June 2022, their trade exchange reached 2.5 billion USD. As of September 2019, France ranked 3rd among European countries investing in Vietnam, with 549 valid investment projects worth total 3.576 billion USD. Up to now, Vietnamese enterprises have invested in nine projects in France with a total investment capital of 3.04 million USD. In terms of development cooperation, France is the leading bilateral ODA in Europe to Vietnam.
Healthcare is a traditional field of cooperation with nearly 3,000 Vietnamese doctors practicing in French hospitals and the cooperation between Pasteur Institute in Paris and Pasteur Institutes in Vietnam. Amid the recent COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam provided French localities with face masks, while France supported Vietnam with 5.5 million doses of vaccines and many medical equipment. The locality-to-locality cooperation has been a bright spot in Vietnam-France relations. There are now 38 French localities having partnerships with 18 provinces and cities in Vietnam.
Regarding cooperation in education and training, the French Government has offered many scholarships for Vietnamese students in France annually, aiming to help Vietnam train high-quality human resources. France is home to the third largest number of Vietnamese students in the world with over 10,000, up about 40% over the past decade. Both two countries are members of the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF) with many practical activities, especially in the field of French teaching and university education.
Notably, in terms of the cooperation within the framework of the Parliamentary Assembly of La Francophonie (APF), Vietnamese National Assembly is an active member and now holds the Chair of the Asia-Pacific region of the APF (including Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and some island nations in the South Pacific). The cooperation between the legislative bodies from the two countries has developed positively, making important contributions to strengthening and developing the strategic partnership between the two nations. The Vietnamese National Assembly and French Parliament have regularly hosted high-level meetings to promote the exchange of experiences between the National Assembly’s agencies and parliamentary groups from the two countries, towards enhancing the trust and comprehensive relations in all areas.
The official visit by President of the French Senate Gérard Larcher to Vietnam aims to further foster the relations between the French Senate and the National Assembly of Vietnam as well as the strategic partnership between the two countries. This is also an important event towards 2023, the year marking the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between the two countries and ten years since the two countries upgraded their relations to strategic partnership.