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France, VN seek stronger relations

Update: March, 29/2013 - 09:14
French Minister for Foreign Trade Nicole Bricq.—Photo
PARIS (VNS)— French Minister for Foreign Trade Nicole Bricq suggested that Viet Nam and France further enhance co-operation, especially in economics, with a view to establishing a strategic partnership.

"Viet Nam is always a priority in my work," the minister said at a banquet hosted by the Vietnamese Embassy in Paris on Wednesday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Viet Nam and France's diplomatic ties.

France is now the second-largest European investor in Viet Nam and the leading provider of official development assistance (ODA) for the country from the European Union (EU). France's total ODA contribution to Viet Nam has amounted to EUR1.2 billion (US$1.5 billion) so far, in addition to other aid and financial loans worth EUR840 million, an amount that includes those provided by the French Ministry of Economy and Finance.

Bricq proposed promoting bilateral dialogue mechanisms and implementing a ministerial-level economic dialogue mechanism, which would serve as the main factor in the future strategic partnership.

She stressed that the two sides needed to pay heed to market access and France's support of Viet Nam's negotiations with the EU towards a free trade agreement.

Additionally, she said, both nations should work closely in health care, environment and information technology – all of which are vital sectors for Viet Nam's economic development.

She affirmed that this was the right time for the two countries to work out a detailed roadmap for establishing their strategic partnership. Details will be discussed during Bricq's forthcoming visit to Viet Nam to attend the launch of the Viet Nam – France Culture Year.

The minister will be accompanied by representatives from about 100 French small and medium-sized businesses. — VNS

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