|Workers at the Phu Thinh - Nha Be Garment Co stich clothes set for export to France. French trade with Viet Nam rose by 22 per cent year-on-year to reach US$4 billion last year. — VNA/VNS Photo Manh Linh
HCM CITY (VNS)— Ninety-one French small- and medium-sized enterprises took part in the second Viet Nam – France Business Forum, which opened yesterday in HCM City as the first event to celebrate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Viet Nam and France.
"Viet Nam is one of the 47 countries that France would like to increase relations with, and I hope that the two countries will sign a strategic co-operation agreement soon," said the French Minister of Trade, Nicole Bricq, during the opening ceremony of the forum in HCM City.
French enterprises have strengths in water treatment, cosmetics, telecommunications, software and food processing. They plan to work with 500 local companies, and 20 French experts will provide consultancies on doing business in Viet Nam.
Despite the global economic downturn, French trade with Viet Nam last year increased 22 per cent year-on-year, reaching US$4 billion.
"France is second in total investment in Viet Nam and third in ODA from European countries," said Vu Ten Loc, chairman of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Loc suggested that France supported Viet Nam in finance, banking, pharmacy, fashion, and high-tech agriculture. Although only 6 per cent of France's population are farmers, food exports total $6.6 billion.
At the forum, Truong Hai Auto signed a co-operation contract with Peugeot to assemble and distribute the French-made cars in Viet Nam.
In addition, Dassault Systemes signed a partnership to bring its 3D software to students at the University of Science and Technology of Ha Noi (USTH).
The forum was organised by the French Agency for Export Promotion (UBIFRANCE), and the French National Public Establishment of Industrial and Commercial Nature (OSEO) supporting innovation and growth for SMEs and CCI International.
By the end of 2012, France was the 16th investor in Viet Nam with total investment of $3.1 billion focusing on telecommunications, water, electricity, gas manufacturing and distribution, and hotels, restaurants and construction.
There are around 300 French enterprises working in Viet Nam.
Viet Nam exports textiles and garments, footwear, rubber and plastic products to France.
To mark the 40th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties, the French Year in Viet Nam will be held from April to the middle of 2013 and the Vietnamese Year in France in 2014.
The French Year in Viet Nam will feature about 100 events, including those on culture, arts, architecture, fashion, economics, and science and education exchanges.
Activities are aimed at introducing today's France to the Vietnamese people.
The Central Highlands city of Da Lat will organise an event to mark its 120th anniversary, including a ceremony to commemorate French-Swiss doctor Alexandre Yersin who established the city. — VNS