The 224th anniversary of France’s National Day (July 14) was marked in Ho Chi Minh City, the locality that has been enjoying growing cooperation with France in education, culture and arts.

At the celebration, French Consul General Fabrice Mauries noted that the relations between France and Vietnam are increasing incessantly. He showed his pleasure to see various activities to hail France-Vietnam Year to be held in HCM city, saying these are significant to France.

Vice Chairman of the city’s Union of Friendship Organisations Phan Long recalled that during their visits and exchanges earlier this year, senior leaders agreed to elevate the two countries’ relations to a strategic level under the motto “traditional friendship, comprehensive, long-lasting and reliable cooperation in the 21 st century.”

France is currently Vietnam’s second largest European investor with a total investment of 3.1 billion USD, and the country’s third largest trade partner, as evidenced by a two-way trade value of 3.2 billion USD recorded in 2012.

It is also the leading bilateral European donor to the Southeast Asian country where it has taken an active part in the poverty reduction and socio-economic development cause.

In HCM City, French investors and enterprises have operated a number of projects relating to economy, trade and infrastructure development while its non-governmental organisations have been involving in many social development, environment, education and training and health projects.-VNA