Vietnam, France vow to deepen strategic partnership

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh paid an official visit to France from November 3 to 5, following his attendance at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) and working visit in the UK.
The visit took place in the context that the Vietnam-France strategic partnership is on a positive growth momentum. The two countries will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations and 10 years of their strategic partnership in 2023.

Vietnam and France to bring bilateral relations to new height

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh held talks with his French counterpart Jean Castex in Paris on November 3 evening (local time), during which he stressed the importance of the relations with France in Vietnam’s foreign policy.

During his stay, PM Pham Minh Chinh held talks with his French counterpart Jean Castex, and had meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron, President of the Senate Gerald Larcher, President of the National Assembly Richard Ferrand, and Fabien Roussel, National Secretary of the French Communist Party.
The two leaders informed each other about the situation of each country, and appreciated mutual assistance activities between the two countries over the past time.

Castex said France will provide Vietnam with an additional 970,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine through the COVAX Facility and 400,000 doses through a bilateral channel, bringing the total number of vaccines supported to Vietnam so far to more than 2 million doses.

Chinh thanked the French Government for helping Vietnam in the fight against COVID-19 and hoped that France will continue sharing experience and assisting Vietnam in training medical personnel, transferring vaccine production technology and adapting to the post-pandemic context.

The French PM asked Vietnam to create favourable conditions for French businesses to invest in and implement cooperation projects in Vietnam, strengthen defence-security cooperation, and promote relations between National Assembly agencies, promote collaboration in research, science and technology, and continue facilitate operations of the French Institute in Vietnam.

PM Chinh acknowledged France's proposals, affirming that Vietnam wishes for effective support and cooperation from France. He thanked France for maintaining its commitment to official development assistance as well as preferential financial sources for Vietnam. He suggested France maintain and further promote the implementation of health projects, and intensify bilateral cooperation in education – training. He said he hopes that France will create more favourable conditions for students to exchange, study and research in France, and increase the number of scholarships.

The two Prime Ministers also exchanged views on international and regional issues of mutual concern, including the East Sea issue, stressing the need for countries to contribute to maintaining peace, stability and prosperity, and ensuring safety, freedom of navigation and aviation and peaceful settlement of international disputes on the basis of international law, especially the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS).

Castex spoke highly of Vietnam's successfully assuming its role as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and once again thanked Vietnam for supporting France to become ASEAN’s development partner.

Meanwhile, PM Chinh thanked France for its support and coordination at multilateral forums and for making efforts to urge the European Commission (EC) to soon remove its "yellow card" warning against Vietnamese fisheries.

The two sides agreed to actively implement the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), accelerate the ratification of the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA), in order to create momentum for trade and investment between Vietnam, France and the EU.

Prime Minister Chinh also shared the outcomes of the high-level Vietnamese delegation's attendance at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) that just took place in the UK, and announced that Vietnam has committed to building and implementing policies and measures to promote international cooperation, and hopes that developed countries, including France, will continue to support Vietnam in this field.

PM Castex appreciated contributions of the Vietnamese community in France.

PM Chinh invited the French PM to visit Vietnam and conveyed the invitation from President Nguyen Xuan Phuc to President Emmanuel Macron to visit the Southeast Asian country.

After the talks, the two PMs witnessed the signing of several documents, cooperation agreements and economic contracts between the two sides.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh arrived at Orly airport in Paris, France, on November 3 afternoon. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA

An official welcome ceremony is held for Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (C) and a high-ranking delegation of Vietnam at the Invalides Palace, Paris, on November 3 afternoon. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh is welcomed by his French counterpart Jean Castex. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh hold talks with his French counterpart Jean Castex. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (behind, L) and his French counterpart Jean Castex witness the signing ceremony of cooperation documents between the two countries. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA

The signing of a cooperation agreement between the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training and French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation on the recognition of certificates and training process. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA

 The French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) sign a Letter of Intent on cooperation related to Earth-Observation satellite implementation. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA

Vietnam's new-age carrier Vietjet and Safran, an international France-based high-technology group, signs a comprehensive strategic partnership agreement during the official visit of Vietnam's high-ranking Government delegation to France. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA

The two Prime Ministers discussed orientations as well as measures to enhance cooperation in the coming time to achieve more practical results.

They agreed to jointly develop a master plan to create strong changes to serve as a basis to bring the bilateral relationship to a new height. They stressed the importance of enhancing the exchange of high-level delegations, improving the effectiveness of dialogue mechanisms, expanding cooperation in all fields, strengthening close coordination in regional and international issues, actively supporting each other at multilateral forums, and increasing the frequency of flights linking the two countries. They also welcomed the organisation of the 12th Vietnam-France decentralised cooperation conference in Hanoi in 2022.

The two leaders agreed to implement practical measures to create more favourable conditions for bilateral trade exchanges, and support the two countries’ businesses and goods to approach each other's market. They proposed measures to promote cooperation projects in key fields, build long-term industrial partnerships on the basis of high technology transfer and mutual benefit, especially in the fields that France has strengths and Vietnam has demand.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (R) and French President Emmanuel Macron. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (left) has a meeting with French National Assembly President Richard Ferrand. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh meets with President of the French Senate Gérard Larcher as part of his ongoing visit to France. Photo: VNA

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh meets with Managing Director of the COVAX Facility Aurélia Nguyen. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh receives Fabien Roussel, National Secretary of the French Communist Party. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh held a working session with French medical group Sanofi in Paris on November 4 (local time) as part of his ongoing official visit to France. In the photo: PM Chinh speaks at the event. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh attended a Vietnam-France business forum on November 4 in the framework of his official visit to France and witnessed the exchange of 29 cooperative agreements between ministries, sectors, organisations and companies of Vietnam and partners from France and some European countries.

The PM called on French companies to continue studying and discussing further cooperation with Vietnamese partners, and asked them to assist Vietnam not only in financing and investment but also in policy and institution building, administrative reform, green financing and green technology, human resources training and administrative science.      

He highlighted that Vietnam-France cooperation has been developing across the fields, from investment, trade to culture and education, contributing to the development of each country. The two countries have become increasingly connected with their mutual political trust strengthened in line with Vietnam’s external policy, he said. 

The Vietnamese government leader affirmed that Vietnam is focusing efforts on tackling issues of investors’ concern such as infrastructure, institutions and human resources.  

PM Chinh informed that with effective preventive measures and better capacity to cope with the pandemic, Vietnam has shifted to a new stage of safe and flexible adaptation and effective response to the pandemic, so as to both fight the pandemic and restore and develop the economy and society, with initial results recorded.       

Vietnam continues to face numerous difficulties and challenges, the PM said, but went on to affirm his belief that with the time-honoured ties and strategic trust, the people and businesses of both countries will promote substantial and effective cooperation, thus helping further develop the Vietnam-France relations.

Vietnam-France strategic partnership

Vietnam and France set up diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level on April 12, 1973. In September 2013, the two countries established a strategic partnership on the occasion of then Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung's visit to France.

France is Vietnam’s fifth largest European trading partner, with trade value in 2020 estimated at US$4.81 billion. 
Regarding the exchange of high-level delegations, the leaders of the two nations have regularly visited each other. The most recent were the visit to Vietnam by then French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe in November 2018 and the France visit by then Vietnamese National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan in April 2019.

The two sides have regularly maintained cooperation mechanisms, including a defence-security strategic dialogue and an annual high-level economic dialogue.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and a high-ranking delegation of Vietnam lay wreaths at a monument of President Ho Chi Minh in Montreuil, about 15km east of Paris. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh had a meeting with representatives of overseas Vietnamese in Europe on November 04 in Paris. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh meets Vietnamese and French doctors and medical experts in Paris. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh meets with Louise Mushikiwabo, Secretary-General of the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF). Photo: Duong Giang/VNA

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh visited the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, France, and met with UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay on November 5 (local time), during his official visit to France. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA

The Vietnamese PM witnesses the signing of a cooperation agreement between SOVICO Group and UNESCO. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA

The OECD and the Government of Vietam signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen co-operation over the next five years. In the photo: The MoU signed in Paris by OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann and Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son in the presence of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA

PM Phạm Minh Chinh (right) had a reception for Christian Scherer, Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International at Airbus in Paris on November 5. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA

France is Vietnam's fifth largest European trading partner after Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, and Italy. Bilateral trade in 2020 reached 4.81 billion USD. As of July 2021, France ranked 3rd among European countries (after the Netherlands and the UK) and 16th out of 140 countries and territories investing in Vietnam, with 605 projects worth 3.6 billion USD in total.

France ranks 7th among the largest investors in tourism in Vietnam, with US$188 million across 14 projects. Vietnam determines France as a key source of foreign tourists.

In development cooperation, France is Vietnam’s leading bilateral European ODA donor while Vietnam ranks 2nd among countries receiving France’s ODA in Asia. To date, France has provided Vietnam with a total of 3 billion EUR in concessional loans.

In security – defence collaboration, France was the first Western country to have a defence attaché in Vietnam in 1991. During the recent visits by the defence ministers of the two countries, the two sides agreed that Vietnam and France share a strategic partnership in the field of defence.