Vietnam – France relations strengthened in a closer and more effective manner

Tuesday, 2021-11-02 11:21:30
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Ambassador Dinh Toan Thang speaks at the investment and business promotion conference between Vietnam and French localities. (Photo: NDO)
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NDO - Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh will pay an official visit to France from November 3-5. In an interview with Nhan Dan (People) Newspaper’s reporter in France, Vietnamese Ambassador to France Dinh Toan Thang affirmed that the visit is of great significance, and demonstrates the determination and aspiration of both sides towards developing the bilateral relations more deeply and strongly with a long-term vision.

According to Ambassador Dinh Toan Thang, Vietnam and France witnessed a long-standing relations and deep connections in terms of history and culture. Over the years, the relationship between the two countries has undergone profound changes and comprehensive development. France is one of Vietnam’s leading partners in Europe and the world. The two nations established a strategic partnership, affirming their aspiration and determination to further develop their bilateral relations more deeply and strongly with a long-term and solid vision.

The two countries have maintained many regular exchange mechanisms on politics, economics, and defence at all levels. A series of agreements were signed, forming a legal basis for cooperation in many fields. The official visits to France made by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in March 2018 and National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan in April 2019, as well as French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe’s visit to Vietnam in November 2018, marked the effective development of the Vietnam – France strategic partnership.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s congratulatory letter to General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong on the success of the 13th National Party Congress and the phone calls between President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his French counterpart Macron, between Vietnamese PM Pham Minh Chinh and French PM Jean Castex, and between Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son and French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian have demonstrated the close political ties between the two countries.

The coordination between the two nations in international issues and at important multilateral forums such as the United Nations, Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), is very close. The two countries have maintained their exchanges in numerous issues related to regional security and shared their common views on the respect for international law, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), freedom of navigation and overflight, ensuring the peace and security and settling disputes by peaceful means.

During the current period, both nations have many favourable conditions to enhance the bilateral relations. Their foreign policies also have an important point of intersection. France continues to be a core country in Europe that is actively implementing a dynamic and comprehensive policy towards the Asia-Pacific. Vietnam is a fast-growing and dynamic economy which plays an important role in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and in cooperation mechanisms in the Asia-Pacific.

Ambassador Dinh Toan Thang said the two nations still have great potential for cooperation in many fields. By August 2021, with US$3.62 billion of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Vietnam, France accounted for 14% of the total FDI capital from the EU into Vietnam and ranked 16th among the countries and territories in the world carrying out investment projects in Vietnam. This result is considered quite “modest” compared to the cooperation potential of the two countries, the strength of French businesses and the investment and development needs of Vietnam. Vietnam should devise more specific and stronger measures to attract French enterprises to invest in areas of strength in line with Vietnam's future direction of foreign investment cooperation.

Regarding trade, the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), which took effect on August 1, 2020, has been creating great opportunities for economic and trade cooperation between Vietnam and France. One year following the implementation of the agreement, despite the complicated development of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam’s imports and exports from/to EU and vice versa have increased by more than 18% over the years before the agreement came into force. Vietnam should utilise the agreement’s advantages to bring many commodities of strength of Vietnam to the French market, such as textiles, footwear, agricultural products and seafood. Vietnamese businesses should also proactively innovate production to meet quality standards and keep up with the development trend of the European and French markets.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh's official visit to France is an important step in implementing Vietnam's foreign policy both in multilateral and bilateral manner after the 13th National Party Congress. The visit’s overarching goal is to demonstrate Vietnam’s foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, friendship, cooperation and development, and diversification and multilateralisation of international relations as affirmed by the 13th National Party Congress. The event also aimed to tighten and deepen the Vietnam – France strategic partnership.

Implementing the Politburo’s Conclusion No.12 on overseas Vietnamese work in the new situation, PM Pham Minh Chinh will meet the Vietnamese community in France and Europe during his business trip. The Government leader and high-ranking delegation are expected to meet and talk with leading economic groups and businesses in France and Europe to inform them of Vietnam’s efforts in boosting production and development and enhancing trade and investment with partners.

PM Pham Minh Chinh’s official visit to France will be an opportunity for the two countries to enhance the health cooperation, especially in COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control. The medical cooperation between Vietnam and France over the past 30 years has contributed significantly to the fight against the epidemic in Vietnam.

KHAI HOAN - DINH TUAN
Translated by NDO