François Fillon’s Visit to Vietnam

Monday - 28/06/2010 14:48

At the first official visit of a French prime minister since the establishing of diplomatic relations between the two countries, François Fillon was accompanied by three members of the government, five parliamentarians and some forty business leaders. He called for an ambitious cooperation policy, “up to the dynamism and success of Vietnam.”

“In the history of our relations with Vietnam, I think that this visit is significant: one of greater pragmatism,” affirmed the prime minister during his visit to Vietnam. “I would also like to see our relations really be future-looking,” he went on to say.

Education research, technological innovation, sustainable development, etc., are priority areas in which “France excels and in which Vietnam is experiencing considerable need,” the prime minister assured.

Received on Thursday, November 12 by his Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Tan Dung, at Government Palace in Hanoi, François Fillon announced the acquisition by Vietnam Airlines of four Airbus 380 aircraft by the end of the first quarter of 2010, as well as the signing of several intergovernmental agreements: in the area of civilian use of nuclear energy; for implementing a science and technology university in Hanoi (for which France will take on the training of the 400 PhD holders that will train the university’s teaching staff); in the area of defence and domestic security, as well as to continue France’s aid for sustainable development in Vietnam (building of a hydroelectric power plant and providing support for the Vietnamese “People’s Credit Fund” network for private investment in the rural sector).

Although Vietnam had a growth rate of 5.5 percent in 2009 and is exerting increasing weight in Asia and on the international scene, French export figures to Vietnam have stagnated in the last ten years. “France was not successful in taking full advantage of Vietnam’s growth,” acknowledged François Fillon. He therefore spoke up for the strengthening of relations between French and Vietnamese companies: “I think that the present time gives us opportunities that must be seized to build a genuine partnership between the East and West, between Asia and Europe.” He also indicated that France was hopeful of contributing to Vietnam’s efforts in the fight against global warming, through such avenues as its corporate representatives.

Concluding the France-Vietnam Businessmen’s Forum in Hanoi, the prime minister saluted a country of “impressive dynamism. . . . I could barely recognize the streets of Hanoi where bicycles were the only mode of transportation fifteen years ago.” Later, before the City People’s Committee Chairman Le Hoang Quan in Ho Chi Minh City, François Fillon highlighted the assets that French companies have to offer with regard to the needs of Vietnam: “Transportation, water management, financial services—in all of these areas we have the highest rated companies in the world.”