“I am delighted to be in a country so dear to France to mark the 50th anniversary of our diplomatic relations and the 10th anniversary of our strategic partnership,” Olivier Becht, Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade, Economic Attractiveness, and French Nationals Abroad, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, wrote to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on the occasion of his visit to Vietnam.
“What a joy to be here in Vietnam,” Becht said.
This year will see a series of economic, cultural, and scientific events which will demonstrate the strong bond both countries share, he stated.
Promoting economic cooperation
“This relationship is based on our long-standing cultural and historical ties, embodied by French nationals of Vietnamese descent and French nationals living in Vietnam.
It is also based on a close alignment between our respective local government bodies, with, for example, the next conference on decentralized cooperation in Hanoi this April.
Our institutional relations are solid. This was evident in the deep and congenial discussions enjoyed during Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s visit to Paris in November 2021, as well as the visit to Hanoi of the President of the French Senate, Gérard Larcher, in December 2022.
There is room to improve our economic relationship. And that is what I have come to tell the Vietnamese authorities and other economic stakeholders with whom I will have the honor of meeting during my visit.
These include, among others, Vietnamese investors, who are aware of France’s economic attractiveness, and representatives from French businesses in the country, 300 of which are registered at the France-Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry employing some 45,000 people, including subsidiaries of French groups, focusing on the Asian markets.”
Sharing common interests
“On Thursday I will be in Ho Chi Minh City, where I will take part in a major event, the Asia-Pacific Forum of the French Foreign Trade Advisers, along with 500 managers from companies across the region.
I will make clear France’s vision for relations across the region. We are a proud partner of ASEAN, which is essential to regional stability.
Strengthening our engagement with Vietnam is key to realizing our ambitions, as it is a critical Indo-Pacific and ASEAN country. The country is seeing remarkable growth that brings transformations: in 2022, the Vietnamese economy grew faster than at any point in the last quarter-century, driven by a strong industrial sector.
Our common interests extend beyond the Indo-Pacific. France has key expertise to support the myriad transitions Vietnam faces: energy, demographic, environmental, and digital.
During my visit, I look forward to affirming the great achievements of French companies in Vietnam. These are none better exemplified than by Sanofi, for example, in the health sector, which has been in Vietnam for 70 years and employs more than 1,000 people. I encourage ongoing projects, like Hanoi’s metro and wholesale market and the EDF gas-fired power plant in Son My 1, as well as a host of other exciting, related ventures.
I will not forget our 8,000 or so French citizens living in Vietnam, who have been through difficult times with the COVID-19 pandemic. I look forward to meeting with our elected consular representatives, representatives of French associations, and the pupils and teaching staff of the French Lycée in Hanoi.
The French citizens in Vietnam are a vibrant and dynamic community, contributing actively to exchange and collaboration on economic, cultural, academic, and scientific fronts. Let us harness this potential and together realize a brighter common future.