Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong will pay an official visit to France from March 25 to 27 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The upcoming official visit to France by General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong will reflect the two countries’ respect for each other and their resolve to enhance multifaceted cooperation, opening a new period of flourishing ties in the years ahead.

The remark was made by Vietnamese Ambassador to France Nguyen Thiep in a interview with Vietnam News Agency on the threshold of the trip from March 25 to 27, which will be made at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron.

The ambassador said the two countries 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 well.

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 trade agreements, including the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), which will take effect in the near future, will bring new cooperation chances for both countries.

He noted that during the upcoming visit, the two sides are scheduled to sign a series of important cooperation documents on defence, justice, space technology, intellectual property, climate change response and tourism, along with economic contracts worth tens of billions of USD.

Strategic plans and new cooperation frameworks and mechanisms issued during the trip will develop the Vietnam-France strategic partnership.

The visit will also be an occasion to popularise Vietnam as a country with many reform achievements, a trustworthy partner ready to bolster ties with France, an emerging market with numerous investment and business opportunities for French businesses and an attractive, safe and friendly destination for French tourists, Thiep said.

He told Vietnam News Agency that when the EVFTA comes into force, trade between Vietnam and the EU will improve in both quality and quantity. He expressed his belief that trade links between Vietnam and France will also grow in the time ahead.

Accordingly, French companies will have many chances to boost exports to the Southeast Asian nation, especially agricultural products, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, fashion items, high-end furniture, hi-tech machinery, transport vehicles and chemicals. They can also help Vietnam take part in their production chains and access advanced technologies.

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The two countries’ businesses can also partner in investment and production to export goods to not only ASEAN but also European countries and other markets around the world, Ambassador Thiep noted.

Meanwhile, culture and education-training are among the priority fields for cooperation in their strategic partnership, he said, elaborating that cultural exchanges are expanding. The French Government allocates about 5 million EUR (6.1 million USD) for cultural cooperation with Vietnam each year, including support for French culture centres in Hanoi (L’Espace), Ho Chi Minh City (Institute of Cultural Exchange with France – IDECAF), Hue city and Da Nang city.

With 14 projects worth 188 million USD, France ranks seventh among countries and territories with tourism investment in Vietnam, which considers the EU nation a key source of tourists. In 2017, Vietnam welcomed 255,370 French visitors, up 6 percent from 2016.

According to the diplomat, France regards education and training as a priority in its cooperation in Vietnam, focusing on French teaching and human resources training at tertiary level in various areas like economic management, banking, finance, law and new technology.

The French Government has annually granted 80 scholarships for Vietnamese students to study in France, mostly for training programmes at master and doctoral levels. The number of Vietnamese students in the country has increased by some 40 percent over the last 10 years to about 7,000 at present.

Regarding the Vietnamese community in France, Thiep said they have greatly contributed to the homeland and the two countries’ relations. With about 300,000 people, the community has organised donation programmes to support the disadvantaged in Vietnam, presented scholarships to university students and promoted science and technique development projects. 

They have also integrated soundly into local society. Many associations of Vietnamese people here have supported one another and served as a bridge helping to nurture friendship between the two peoples.

More and more Vietnamese-French are taking important positions in economic, political and scientific-technical spheres in France, consolidating the community’s status in France, he noted, adding that the visit by General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong will also be an occasion to affirm that the Party and State always pay attention to expatriates in France – an integral part of Vietnam.-VNA