This is an important political event, contributing to creating a new momentum, and establishing the framework and orientations to deepen the Vietnam-France strategic partnership; promote political and diplomatic relations, expand trade and economic relations, as well as foster cooperation in other fields between the two countries.

The Vietnamese people are happy to witness the achievements that France has obtained in recent years. The French economy is the fifth largest in the world. The country is currently ranked third in the world by service exports with a GDP of more than US$2.5 trillion in 2017, a 1.8% increase over 2016. France is home to many leading global businesses and has a time-honoured tradition in industrial invention, a high quality education system, and large investment in research and development. France ranked fifth in the world for offshore investment with more than US$1.2 trillion. France is now Europe’s leading producer and exporter of agricultural products; while, ranked fourth in mechanical engineering and third in aviation in the world. It has strength in the fields of energy, telecommunications, financial services -banking, tourism, pharmaceuticals, and fashion, among others.

It can be seen that after 45 years of the establishment of the Vietnam-France diplomatic relations, in which the Vietnam-France strategic partnership was established in 2013, the friendship and cooperation between the two countries continues to be broadened and developed in all fields. France considers Vietnam as a priority and important partner in the region. The Communist Party of Vietnam has a time-honoured relationship with the French Communist Party, as well as established relations with the French Socialist Party and the French Republican Party. The two countries regularly exchange high-level delegations. France welcomed Party General Secretary Le Kha Phieu in 2000 and Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh in 2005. The two sides have deployed a number of cooperative mechanisms, such as the Vietnam-France Defence Policy Dialogue; the annual High-level Economic Dialogue; and the Decentralised Cooperation Conference, etc... The two sides have also cooperated effectively in many international and regional forums such as the United Nations, ASEM, ASEAN - EU and the International Organisation of La Francophonie.

Regarding economic cooperation, France is one of the leading trade partners of Vietnam in Western Europe with two-way trade in 2017 reaching US$4.6 billion, up 11.6% compared to 2016. In 2017, France ranked third among the European countries, and 16th among 125 countries and territories investing in Vietnam, with 513 valid projects worth US$2.8 billion. France is a leading European ODA provider for Vietnam, and Vietnam is the second largest beneficiary nation of French ODA in Asia, with a total committed capital of US$18.4 billion since 1993. France’s direct investment in Vietnam mainly focuses on IT, agriculture, and the processing and manufacturing industries.

The exchanges and cooperation between the two countries have been expanded in many fields such as culture, health, education and training. There are currently 7,000 Vietnamese students studying in France. France regards Vietnam as a top priority in Asia and the third priority in the world in terms of cultural and scientific-technical cooperation. The French Government allocates approximately EUR5 million(US$6.1 million) for cultural cooperation with Vietnam each year. With 14 projects worth US$188 million, France ranks seventh among countries and territories in terms of tourism investment in Vietnam, which considers the EU nation as a key source of tourists.

The official visit to France by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong takes place when the two countries are holding the first high-level meeting since France has had a new president, and at a time when the two countries are celebrating the 45th founding anniversary of diplomatic ties and five years of the strategic partnership between Vietnam and France. This is also the first visit to Western Europe by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong during the 12th National Party Congress and takes place in the context of the Vietnam-EU trade relations entering the new period. It is believed that the official visit to France by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong will create a momentum to consolidate and deepen the strategic partnership between Vietnam and France, contributing to enhancing Vietnam’s position in Europe. The visit takes place in the context that Vietnam is continuing to achieve important achievements of historical significance in the renewal process, as well as maintaining political and social stability with deep regional and international integration. The prestige of the country has also been improved.

May the official visit to France by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong be crowned a success, bringing the Vietnam-France strategic partnership to a new height, meeting the aspiration of the two peoples, contributing to peace, stability, and prosperity in the region and around the world.

Nhan Dan - March 25, 2018