French Senate President Leaves Hanoi, Wrapping up Vietnam Visit

President of the French Senate Gérard Larcherhighlighted the factors that make Vietnam-France relations very special and unique, and affirmed: "France has touched the hearts of the Vietnamese people" during his visit to Vietnam.

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National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue (R) and President of the French Senate Gérard Larcher. Photo: French embassy in Hanoi
National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue (R) and President of the French Senate Gérard Larcher. Photo: French embassy in Hanoi

President of the French Senate Gérard Larcher and his entourage left Hanoi on December 9 night, concluding a successful two-day official visit to Vietnam at the invitation of National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue, VNA reported.

While in Vietnam, the Senate President held talks with NA Chairman Hue and attended a launching ceremony for a series of celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam-France diplomatic ties.

Larcher also paid courtesy calls to Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and met with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.

At the meetings, both sides stressed the significance of Larcher’s visit as the two countries are looking forward to the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic ties and 10 years since the establishment of the bilateral strategic partnership.

The host leaders affirmed that Vietnam attaches importance to the strategic partnership.

The two sides exchanged views on specific cooperation areas and agreed to step up all-level meetings via all Party, State, parliament and people-to-people exchange channels, and strengthen cooperation between localities.

The legislative bodies of the two countries will also enhance coordination at multilateral forums.

General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and President of the French Senate Gérard Larcher. Photo: French embassy in Hanoi
General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and President of the French Senate Gérard Larcher. Photo: French embassy in Hanoi

The Vietnamese leaders asked France to soon ratify the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) in order to create an impulse for the bilateral investment ties, and urge the European Commission (EC) to remove its “yellow card” warning on the Vietnamese fishery sector.

The two sides concurred to continue coordinating in and strengthening supervision over the implementation of cooperation projects, including urban railway No. 3, to remove obstacles to the projects.

Vietnam and France will also further close coordination at regional and international multilateral forums to promote their role in the decision making process regarding regional and international matters.

The visit, from December 8-9, was the first high-level one of the two countries’ legislative bodies after the Covid-19 pandemic was brought under control.

It has contributed to consolidating and deepening the strategic partnership between the two countries, as well as the friendship and cooperation between the Vietnamese National Assembly and the French Parliament.

During the trip, Gérard Larcher attended a ceremony in Hanoi on December 8 to inaugurate the new headquarters of the French Institute in Vietnam and surveyed urban railway No. 3 project.

Inaugural ceremony of new headquarters of French Institute in Vietnam
Inaugural ceremony of new headquarters of French Institute in Vietnam. Photo: French embassy in Hanoi
President of the French Senate Gérard Larcher and his entourage visit the Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam (Temple of Literature). Photo: French embassy in Hanoi
President of the French Senate Gérard Larcher and his entourage visit the Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam (Temple of Literature). Photo: French embassy in Hanoi

France is Vietnam’s fifth largest trade partner in Europe, after Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and Italy, with two-way trade reaching USD 4.8 billion in 2021, a slight decrease from the USD 4.81 billion of the previous year. As of the end of June 2022, the bilateral trade revenue had stood at USD 2.5 billion, of which Vietnam’s imports from France were valued at USD 0.8 billion.

As of September 2019, France had ranked third among the European investors in Vietnam, after the Netherlands and the UK, and 16th among the 114 countries and territories investing in the Southeast Asian nation, with 549 valid projects worth some USD 5.76 billion. Meanwhile, Vietnam has had nine projects in France with a total investment of USD 3.04 million.

France is the leading European ODA provider of Vietnam, and the Southeast Asian nation ranks second among the Asian recipients of the French assistance.

Hannah Nguyen