Illustrative photo (Photo: VNA)

Paris (VNA) – Bilateral economic cooperation between Vietnam and France has yet to meet potential of both sides, as two-way trade is accounting for only 1 percent of Vietnam’s total international trade, Vietnamese Ambassador to France Nguyen Thiep said.

Addressing an audience of 80 entrepreneurs and scientists at an investment and trade promotion event in France’s southwest city of Toulouse on May 22, the ambassador reported that two-way trade in 2017 reached 4.6 billion USD, up 500 million USD over 2016.

Of the figure, Vietnam’s exports were worth 3 billion USD while its imports stood at about 1.6 billion USD.

French investment in Vietnam has mounted to nearly 3 billion USD since 1988, said the diplomat.

France is the third largest European investor in Vietnam after the Netherlands and the UK, while ranking fifth in trade after Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and Italy.

The diplomat took the occasion to inform Toulouse businesses and scientists of the policies and investment environment in Vietnam, as well as sectors of priority in the country’s policy on investment attraction.

Ambassador Thiep called on French firms to invest in high and green technology and green energy, biological agriculture, digital technology, e-government, health care, culture, education and climate change response.

The promotion conference was jointly held by the North-South Economic Development Agency of Toulouse and the Vietnamese Agency in France.

Toulouse is the fourth largest city of France, and the “capital” of Europe’s aerospace industry. The city was listed as the most dynamic city of France twice in 2013 and 2015 by L’Express and Challenger magazine.

Toulouse and Hanoi have set up an effective partnership for years, especially in urban planning and restoring of historical heritage sites and Hanoi’s Old Quarters.

Toulouse will be the host of the France-Vietnam cooperation conference slated for April 2019.

In 2019, Hanoi is also scheduled to organise Hanoi Culture Days in Toulouse, which is expected to become a chance for people in the two localities to get better understanding and boost cooperation.-VNA