A senior French official has affirmed that France will further strengthen economic relations with Vietnam to make it on a par with their political ties.

French Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry Christine Lagarde made the affirmation during talks with the Paris-based Vietnam News Agency correspondent before heading to Vietnam for the Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s 44 th Annual Meeting.

“A priority in my trip is the meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, where we will review economic, trade and investment cooperation between the two countries in the past time,” Minister Christine Lagarde said.

The two-way trade value between France and Vietnam stood at 2.1 billion EUR in 2010, a rise of 20 percent over 2009. However, it remains far from the two countries’ potential.

Currently ranking 15 th among foreign investors in Vietnam , France will work to increase its investment by supporting and creating favourable condition for French businesses which wish to do business in Vietnam , the Minister said.

She cited a series of projects that have seen and will see French businesses’ involvement, including O Mon thermo-electric plant, inner-Hanoi tramway, and nuclear power plants, saying these projects will contribute greatly to realising the establishment of a partnership that both sides are eying./.