French PM’s Vietnam visit marked with deals worth $10 bln

By Viet Anh   November 2, 2018 | 11:00 pm PT
French PM’s Vietnam visit marked with deals worth $10 bln
PM Phuc said France is a priority partner in Vietnam's foreign policy. Photo courtesy of Vietnam News Agency
The French Prime Minister's visit to Vietnam has been marked by 18 business deals and bilateral cooperation agreements.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his French counterpart Edouard Philippe witnessed the signing of business deals worth $10 billion in Hanoi on Friday.

The deals included Vietnamese budget carrier Vietjet's purchase of 50 Airbus A321neo planes as well as CFM Leap engines for the aircraft.

The two prime ministers also witnessed the signing of cooperation agreements between the two countries in e-government training, development and co-operation in health, climate change, environment and space protection, urban management and energy.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Phuc, Philippe affirmed that his official visit is to confirm France's strategic partnership with Vietnam, which has been playing a key role in the Asia-Pacific region.

The visit also aims to reinforce the partnership between the two countries, with the French businesses accompanying the PM a demonstration of France's confidence in Vietnam's development, he said.

Philippe is set to discuss infrastructure development projects with Hanoi leaders and hi-tech development with leaders of HCMC to reinforce economic cooperation.

He said his visit also aimed to develop specific projects including the inauguration of a new campus of the Lycee Francais Alexandre Yersin, a French international school in Hanoi.

On Saturday, Philippe and a group of French veterans visit Dien Bien Phu, the site of Vietnam's decisive victory over the French army in 1954, to pay respect to the soldiers that died fighting for their countries.

Speaking at the joint press conference, PM Phuc said France is a priority partner in Vietnam's foreign policy. He welcomed his French counterpart's visit to Dien Bien Phu, saying while the two countries share historical memories, both are always looking to the future.

The two countries are looking forward to an early signing and ratification of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and have confirmed their common commitment to free trade, he added.

Phuc also spoke of growing military ties between the two countries. "Vietnam welcomes French military ships' visits to Vietnam, and more recently military aircraft visits," he said.

The Vietnamese PM highly appreciated France's position on maintaining freedom of navigation and overflight in the East Sea, internationally known as the South China Sea.

He expressed hope that France would continue supporting the settlement of South China Sea disputes by peaceful means in accordance with international laws, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and an early establishment of the Code of Conduct of parties in the South China Sea (COC).

Philippe is currently on a three-day (from Friday to Sunday) official visit to Vietnam on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the establishment of Vietnam-France diplomatic relations.

This is the second high-level visit between the two countries this year, following Vietnamese Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong's visit to France in March. The French president is set to visit Vietnam next year, Phuc said.

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