France considers Southeast Asia a priority in its export development strategy, French Senator Christian Poncelet has said.

He made the statement at a seminar jointly held by the French agency for export promotion Ubifrance and the Senate in Paris on April 3 to introduce local businesses to opportunities in 10 Southeast Asian markets.

Poncelet, who is also President of the France-Vietnam Friendship Parliamentarians’ Group, said that France has maintained good relations with Southeast Asia in various fields, ranging from diplomacy and culture to economics-trade.

The French Ministry of Foreign Trade has built an export market development strategy targeting newly emerging economies in four major fields, namely food industry, health, information-communication technology, and urban development, he added.

At present, France ’s exports account for only 1.5 percent of market share in Southeast Asia. The country ranks second in Europe, after Germany, in exports to the ASEAN-6 group of Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

France should have a flexible strategy to improve its market share in ASEAN as each country in the region bears its own characteristics, the senator said.

This was the second time Ubifrance had organised such a workshop in collaboration with the French Senate. Earlier, the agency’s representatives in some countries, including Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand, held four roundtables with French businesses on how to promote exports to the Southeast Asian market.-VNA