President of the MEDEF Pierre Gattaz expressed his honour to welcome the Party chief and the high-ranking Vietnamese delegation, saying their presence at the meeting demonstrates the importance of the Vietnam-France relations.
He said the visit to France by General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong took place when the two countries are celebrating the 45th founding anniversary of their diplomatic ties and the fifth anniversary of bilateral strategic partnership.
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 added.
Pierre Gattaz said many French businesses participating in the event have signed a lot of big contracts with Vietnamese partners.
He said Vietnam is on the path to become a tiger of Asia with sustainable economic development thanks to the government’s policy of extensive and intensive international integration as well as endeavours to reform the institutional system to make Vietnam a more attractive market to French companies, he added.
At present, more than 200 French businesses are active in Vietnam. The remarkable economic growth and the bigger number of middle class population in the Southeast Asian country have opened up enormous cooperation opportunities for overseas investors, including those from France, he said.
General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong said France has always been the pioneer among western countries in boosting relations with Vietnam over the past 45 years. The bilateral political ties and cooperation and exchanges in all fields have been growing well. Vietnam and France 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 is still a far cry from the two countries’ sound political ties, their positions and potentials, he said, stating that this visit aims to seek measures to step up the bilateral collaboration in these fields.
He noted that after 30 years of reform, Vietnam has emerged as a potential market with nearly 100 million people and the golden population structure. The country’s annual economic growth was estimated at over seven percent over the past 30 years. The national trade value hit US$425 billion in 2017.
Vietnam is forging ahead with administrative reform and improving the business environment. As a result, the country moved up five places in competitiveness index and 14 places in the business environment in 2017 according to the rankings of the World Economic Forum (WEF). The macro economy remained stable while the gross domestic product (GDP) growth reached 6.81 percent. The foreign currency reserves and the attraction of foreign direct investment (FDI) made a record high, 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). The Southeast Asian country is finalising the free trade deal with the EU, he added.
He underlined the huge cooperation potential between Vietnamese and French firms, adding that Vietnam is accelerating modernisation and industrialisation as well as restructuring the economy and changing its growth model towards focusing on quality and sustainability.
Vietnam gives priority to and encourages the development of hi-tech industries, green technology, clean energy, biological and organic agriculture, digital economy, e-government, health care, culture, and education, he said.
Vietnam is keen to beef up cooperation with French companies and hopes they will expand collaboration with Vietnam in the coming time, the Party leader said.
Vietnam welcomes and highly values investment projects of foreign businesses, including French ones, which accord with the Southeast Asian country’s development orientations and investment attraction policies.
Vietnamese authorities from central to local levels will create the best conditions and ensure the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors in general and French businesses in particular, he affirmed.
Speaking at the meeting, representatives of major businesses of France thanked the Vietnamese Government for supporting them to carry out investment and businesses projects. They said they hope to improve and expand investment cooperation with many new projects in Vietnam.
French investors shared the view that Vietnam has posted stable economic growth and made efforts to improve the investment and business climate, thus opening up numerous opportunities for long-term partnership. They said businesses of France want to do business effectively, contribute to local economic development and bring practical benefits to Vietnamese people.
At the meeting, representatives of the Vietnamese Government and French businesses talked concrete issues to seek effective cooperation solutions in each field.
At the headquarters of the Movement of the Enterprises of France, General Secretary Trong witnessed the exchange of some cooperation documents between the two countries’ businesses.
Vietnamese airline Vietjet and French group Safran – CFM signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on comprehensive cooperation in providing engines and technical and maintenance services worth US$6.5 billion for Vietjet airplanes.
Other cooperation documents included a contract between Vietjet and Gecas France on buying six A321 neo airplanes worth US$800 million on hire-purchase, an MoU between FPT and Airbus on building capacity and consulting staff and developing the Skywise data platform of Airbus, an MoU between FPT and Geopost on helping to modernise the IT system and improving the operation efficiency of Geopost, and a cooperation agreement between T&T Group and Bouygues on rehabilitating Hang Day Stadium in Hanoi.