French President Francois Hollande took a stroll in the Old Quarter in Hanoi (Source: VNA)
Paris (VNA) –The ongoing State visit to Vietnam by French President Francois Hollande was covered by various French press outlets on September 6.

The articles affirmed that the visit aims to boost economic and trade ties between the two countries.

Le Monde (The World) daily newspaper published an article saying several important economic contracts were signed during the visit, the first by a French President since former President Jacques Chirac’s trip to the country in 2004.

After his arrival in Hanoi, on September 6, President Hollande and his Vietnamese counterpart Tran Dai Quang witnessed the signing of two contracts and a memorandum of understanding between Airbus and Vietnamese airlines, the article said.

The budget carrier Jetstar Pacific, a joint venture between Vietnam Airlines and Australia’s Qantas Group, agreed to buy ten A320 CEO aircraft worth 1 billion USD from Airbus.

Vietjet Air also inked a contract to purchase 20 Airbus A321 aircraft.

The national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines signed a letter of intent to buy ten Airbus A350s. If the deal goes through, the order could be worth more than 3 billion USD.

The various contracts and letter of intent represent a cumulative amount of 6.5 billion USD, the article cited Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier as saying.

According to the article, various memoranda of understanding involving French companies were also reached, including between Vinci Concessions group and Vietnam Expressway Corporation, France’s National Centre for Space Study and the Academy of Science and Technology of Vietnam.

The article noted that with a growth rate of 6.7 percent in 2015, Vietnam is one of the most dynamic economies in Southeast Asia. Since 1990, the country’s gross domestic product per capita has tripled.

French exports to the Southeast Asian nation topped 1.4 billion USD last year, an increase of 85.3 percent against 764 million USD recorded in the previous year.

However, France’s trade deficit still stood at 2.7 billion EUR in 2015, mainly due to its purchase of phones and garments-textiles from Vietnam.

An article in Les Echos newspaper said Hanoi has become a preferred destination for foreign investors. Vietnam has become an export hub for many global multinational groups, especially in garments-textiles and electronics. Nearly 300 French companies are running projects in tourism, transportation, infrastructure, retail and health care in the country, the article said, adding that France ranks 17 th out of Vietnam’s commodity suppliers.

During his three-day visit, President Hollande held talks with his Vietnamese counterpart Tran Dai Quang. He was received by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.-VNA