Former Prime Minister of France Edouard Philippe, who is now Mayor of Le Havre City, is leading a delegation of representatives from French enterprises and universities to Vietnam for a visit from Monday to Thursday.
Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son hosted a reception for the delegation in Hanoi on Tuesday.
Philippe expressed his pleasure on his visit to Vietnam on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between the two countries and the 10th anniversary of their strategic partnership.
He also expressed his impression of Vietnam’s achievements and strong development since his first visit to the Southeast Asian country as the prime minister of France five years ago.
As the mayor of Le Havre City, he returned to Vietnam to boost the relations between localities of Vietnam and France as well as the strategic partnership between the two countries.
He affirmed a desire to expand the cooperation with ministries, agencies, and localities in Vietnam in sectors that Le Havre has strengths, such as seaports, shipbuilding, logistics, university education, and official training.
Le Havre will attend the 12th conference on the cooperation between Vietnamese and French localities in the coming time.
For his part, Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Son said the strategic partnership between Vietnam and France has developed more effectively and practically in all aspects.
Son hoped the two countries would take advantage of opportunities ushered in by the European Union (EU)-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement.
The Vietnamese minister also called on France to ratify the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement to give encouragement to Vietnamese and French investors.
He also expected France to urge the European Commission to soon lift its 'yellow card' imposed on Vietnam’s seafood to maintain the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese fishermen and ensure the benefits to millions of European consumers.
Former French PM Philippe also met with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on Monday afternoon.
France has been a leading European trade partner, investor, and sponsor of Vietnam.
The two countries’ bilateral trade reached 5.3 billion euros (US$5.7 billion) in 2022, up 10 percent over the previous year.
The potential to boost their trade cooperation remains great, the government news site baochinhphu.vn reported.
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