In celebration of Bastille Day (July 14), the Consulate General of France in Ho Chi Minh City hosted an event to review the development of the Vietnam-France relationship over the past year.
The meeting, chaired by Emmanuel Ly-Batallan, Consul General of the French Republic in Ho Chi Minh City, was attended by Le Thanh Liem, vice-chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, the Consulate General announced in a press release on Thursday.
The Vietnam-France strategic partnership, established in 2013, has been nourished and reinforced by multiple significant events over the past year, Ly-Batallan stated in his speech.
The two nations’ political relations have been bolstered by several official visits, the diplomat stated, before mentioning a trip to Hanoi by Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian in early June and the upcoming visit of President François Hollande in September.
Then-Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung led a delegation to France in November to be part of the COP21, the United Nations Conference of Parties on Climate Change, the consul general added, assessing that the trip was particularly important for Vietnam, considering the impact of climate change on the nation.
The economic ties between France and Vietnam have been strong, the official remarked, stating hopes that it will continue to strengthen in the future.
“In 2015, bilateral trade grew by 43 percent under the influence of the rise of French exports – in particular in the aeronautic sector – as well as Vietnamese exports. Vietnam is still doing better than France, with a €2.7 billion [US$2.9 billion] commercial surplus. This tendency kept going during the first semester of 2016,” Ly-Batallan elaborated.
He mentioned the significance of Ho Chi Minh City in the Vietnam-France bilateral relationship, stating that the southern hub has become home to a large number of French citizens settling in the Southeast Asian country.
The good partnership between the two nations is also illustrated by the cooperation in education and culture.
“France remains a popular destination for Vietnamese students, as we have around 6,500 of them in our country, with 1,500 new students arriving every year. And, considering their great talent and their success, we are absolutely delighted with having them,” the diplomat said.
Achievements in medicine are also an excellent example of the two countries’ cooperation, he continued, listing the recent establishment of the French-Vietnamese Center for Gout in Ho Chi Minh City.
Replying to his host, Vice-Chairman Liem, on behalf of the administration and residents of Ho Chi Minh City, extended his congratulations to the consul general and all the French in the city.
He reiterated the sustainable development of the Vietnam-France strategic partnership on many fronts.
“The exchanges of high-level visits are vivid demonstrations of strong bilateral political ties,” Liem said.
Regarding economic collaboration, France has been one of Vietnam’s most important European partners, according to the vice-chairman.
“The upcoming implementation of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement will lay a firm foundation for Vietnam and France to boost economic cooperation and open new opportunities for business communities in the two countries and the two regions” he remarked.
Ho Chi Minh City plays an essential role in cementing those ties, Liem continued, adding that France was among the top ten investors in the southern hub as of the end of June.
He listed several major projects being carried out by the city and French businesses, hoping that Consul General Ly-Batallan will continue to uphold his significant role in connecting Ho Chi Minh City with his country.
The southern metropolis always welcomes French leaders, delegations, businesses and citizens, aiming for the effective implementation of bilateral cooperation in many programs and projects, the city's leader said.