Further co-operation with France discussed

HA NOI (VNS0— France wants to boost co-operation with Viet Nam in fields where France has advantages and Viet Nam has demand, said French Minister for Foreign Trade Nicole Bricq.

While co-chairing the first annual economic dialogue between the two countries in Ha Noi yesterday, she also said that bilateral economic co-operation should be increased to match up to the two countries’ long-lasting political ties so that they could establish a strategic partnership.

Vietnamese minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh, co-chairman of the dialogue, said that the event sought to make the two countries’ governments and enterprises better understand each other and thus work together more efficiently.

“This can help us make use of our advantages and create a more favourable and sustainable investment environment for French enterprises in Viet Nam,” he said.

At the event, the two countries’ officials and enterprises discussed issues including the development of Protected Geographical Indications in Viet Nam, the application of international standards to major transport projects and ways to get investment for infrastructure projects under the Public -Private Partnerships model.

To realise their co-operative commitments, the two sides signed three grant agreements.

France will provide an added grant of 1 million euros (US$1.3 million) for the Programme for Trade Capacity Building, under which 5 million euros ($6.5 million) has gone towards 11 projects in Viet Nam since 2004.

The French Agency for Development (AFD) also provided a grant of 600,000 euros ($782,500) to support Public-Private Partnership capacity building within the Vietnamese government.

The AFD added a loan of 20 million euros ($26 million) and a grant of 500,000 euros ($652,000) for a project on water distribution and control in the Dong Nai watershed that got underway in 2006 but was delayed by the wave of inflation that hit Viet Nam in 2008.

France is now the second-largest European investor in Viet Nam and the leading provider of official development assistance (ODA) from the European Union.

France’s ODA contribution to Viet Nam totals 1.2 billion euros ($1.5 billion) so far, in addition to other aid and financial loans worth 840 million euros. — VNS

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