Member of the Party Central Committee and Standing Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Member of the Party Central Committee and Standing Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son paid a visit to France on March 4 and 5 as a special envoy of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

During the trip, the Deputy FM held meetings with First Vice President of the French National Assembly Carole Bureau-Bonnard; head of the France – Vietnam Friendship Parliamentarians' Group Stephanie Do; diplomatic adviser to the Prime Minister Emmanuel Lenain; Secretary of State to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne; and representatives from the Movement of the Enterprises of France MEDEF.

Son delivered to the French side PM Phuc’s letter to his French counterpart Edouard Philippe.

The diplomat praised the fruitful growth of the Vietnam – France strategic partnership and exchanges of the two countries’ officials at all levels. He specially mentioned the official visit to France by General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee and President Nguyen Phu Trong as well as the trip to Vietnam by French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe in 2018, along with several high-level visits scheduled for 2019.

Regarding Vietnam – EU relations, Deputy FM Son highlighted the benefits of the EU – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and Investment Protection Agreement (IPA) to the bilateral economic, trade and investment cooperation. The pacts will help boost connectivity between the EU and Asia-Pacific region, particularly ASEAN member states, he added.

Appreciating France’s support for the comprehensive development of Vietnam – EU ties, Son called on the country and EU competent agencies to push for the early signing and ratification of the EVFTA and IPA within the current tenure of the European Parliament, thus quickly realise their potential benefits.

French government and parliament leaders expressed their impression of Vietnam’s recent achievements in economic growth, integration, and external relations.

They stressed that Vietnam is an important partner of France in Asia-Pacific, and voiced hopes for stronger collaboration across multiple fields. They agreed to work together with the Vietnamese side in preparing for visits by high-ranking officials of the two nations this year.

Agreeing on the benefits of the EVFTA to Vietnam – EU cooperation in economy trade, and investment, the French side said they will join EU member countries in making the agreement soon a reality.

Meanwhile, representatives of the French business community showed their interest in opportunities that the EVFTA will bring about, stating that they will work for the early signing and ratification of the pact in their country.-VNA