|President Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) and President of the French Senate Gérard Larcher (Photo: VNA)
During a reception for the French leader in Hanoi on Thursday, President Phuc described economic cooperation as an important pillar of the Vietnam-France strategic partnership.
France is always a leading European trade, investment and development assistance partner of Vietnam, he said, adding two-way trade surged by 18% year on year to 3.51 billion USD in the first eight months of this year which is expected to grow strongly on the back of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).
The Vietnamese President suggested the French Senate soon approve the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) and prompt the European Commission to remove its "yellow card" warning against Vietnam’s aquatic products.
Progress has also been seen in cultural-educational and medical cooperation. On this occasion, Phuc thanked France for providing Vietnam with 5.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses.
Having congratulated France on its inauguration of the new headquarters of the French Institute in Hanoi and expressed his support for the planned establishment of the French Institute's branch in Ho Chi Minh City, President Phuc expected that France would help Vietnam restore the Complex of Hue Monuments and provide more scholarships for Vietnamese students.
The Vietnamese leader said France is the only country that Vietnam has formed a periodic and rotating partnership conference mechanism between localities. He asked the Senate President and French senators to mobilize leaders of the French Government and localities to attend the 12th partnership conference between Vietnamese and French localities scheduled to take place in April 2023 in Hanoi.
Larcher told the host that the two countries had unveiled the logo of the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties in the morning of the same day.
Hailing Vietnam’s important contributions to peace and stability in the region and the world in which France also wants to play a part, he said France also supports freedom of overflight and navigation in the East Sea.
The Senate President thanked Vietnam for donating masks to France during the initial stage of the COVID-19 pandemic and wished to further develop the French language movement in Vietnam.
Mr. Phuc suggested the French Senate support Vietnam and ASEAN’s stance on the East Sea, ensuring freedom, security and safety of aviation and navigation, maintaining peace and stability in the East Sea while peacefully settling disputes in line with international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
With about 300,000 Vietnamese living and working in France, the Vietnamese leader hoped for more support from the French Government and Senate to uphold their role as a bridge of friendship and cooperation between the two nations.
President Phuc asked Larcher to convey his invitation to French President Emmanuel Macron to visit Vietnam soon.