Paris (VNA) – National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan has stated that Vietnam attaches importance to cooperation with Europe, with France as a priority partner.

During a meeting with President of the Senate of France Gerand Larcher in Paris on April 2, NA Chairwoman Ngan said there are 200 French businesses operating in Vietnam, and France is the fourth largest European trade partner of the country.

Vietnam wants France to raise its position among countries and territories investing in the country, she said.

The legislator said that she and the Vietnamese NA delegation had held a working session with the France-Vietnam Friendship Parliamentarians’ Group and 15 major French businesses, adding that there will also be activities between the two countries’ enterprises during her visit to the city of Toulouse.

According to Ngan, via exchanges and working sessions with French companies, she found that the companies feel secure investing in Vietnam. A number of firms have been operating in Vietnam for over two decades and are seeking opportunities in diverse areas, which is the reason why the two countries need to reinforce political-diplomatic ties in order to pave the way for economic links, she said.

The guest hoped that with its position and role in Europe, France and its Senate will support the strengthening of ties between Vietnam and the European Union (EU), including the signing and ratification of the European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

Larcher, for his part, reiterated two important milestones in France-Vietnam ties, which are the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1973 and strategic partnership in 2013. Together with growing bilateral political and diplomatic ties, economic partnership has seen good progress and was a focal point under discussion at the cooperation conference between Vietnamese and French localities held in Toulouse city the same day.

Lauding Vietnam’s geopolitical importance and recalling Vietnam’s successful hosting of the second DPRK-USA summit, Larcher said Vietnam plays a significant role in coordinating political activities in the region.

He thanked the Vietnamese top legislator for inviting him to visit Vietnam, saying that it will afford the two legislatures a chance to strengthen their ties, thereby bolstering future joint work between the two nations, especially in economy.

With regards to the EVFTA, he affirmed the Senate’s support for Vietnam. He stressed that France has taken the lead in realising the EU’s policy of multilateralisation and diversification of diplomatic ties and trade.

The host also pledged to do his best to push forward the EFFTA signing and approval.

On cultural and language cooperation, Vietnam has opened bilingual classrooms since 1995, serving as an important bridge for bilateral relations. Larcher said the improvement of bilingual education will contribute to raising the quality of bilateral ties.

On the East Sea issue, Ngan hailed France’s stance on the maintenance of maritime freedom and order in line with international law. She urged France to raise its voice on the issue at multilateral forums and bilateral talks with partners in Asia-Pacific.

The host said the freedom of travelling at sea is important and France is concerned about the issue.

He added that peaceful methods are the choice for addressing disputes and conflicts, which is also what countries are looking toward. –VNA