French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe (Photo: AFP)

Hanoi (VNA) - French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on November 2 begins his three-day official visit to Vietnam at the invitation of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Vietnam and France set up diplomatic ties on April 12, 1973. Overcoming ups and downs in history, over the past 45 years, especially since the establishment of the strategic partnership in 2013, Vietnam-France relations have developed unceasingly.

In the past years, the two sides have maintained the exchange of high-level delegations. Particularly, a visit to France by General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong in March 2018 has created a strong driving force for the development of bilateral ties in the fields of politics, economy, culture, education, healthcare and national defence.

Bilateral trade between Vietnam and France have seen positive growth, with Vietnam having enjoyed continuous trade surplus since 2010, reported the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

In 2017, the two-way trade value exceeded 4.6 billion USD, up 11.6 percent from 2016. The figure included 3.3 billion USD worth of Vietnamese exports to France and 1.3 billion USD worth of imports from the European country, both increasing by over 11 percent year on year.

France is an important European partner of Vietnam. It also respects Vietnam’s stature and contributions to peace, stability and development in the region and the world. Vietnam’s membership of the ASEAN Economic Community and many free tradeagreements, including the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), expected to take effect in the near future, will bring new cooperation chances for both countries.-VNA