Speech of Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City at French National Day 2019
Distinguished leaders of the city, of the Provinces and Vietnamese ministries and administration,
Tonight, we have many reasons to rejoice. Our relations with Vietnam are rapidly strengthening at European, bilateral and local levels.
1 / At the European level, we had the great joy, a few days ago, of seeing the signing of two agreements that will further strengthen relations between France and the other 27 members of the European Union and Vietnam.
The free-trade agreement, signed on 30 June, will allow after its implementation, the gradual disappearance of customs duties on imports. France, together with its European partners, expect a very strong strengthening of trade between Europe and Vietnam.
The investment protection agreement has also been signed. It was necessary. The European Union and its member states are the first investors in ASEAN, India, China and the United States. They are currently only the 5th largest investors in Vietnam. This agreement will allow us to progress significantly.
Here, in the economic capital of Vietnam, we should particularly benefit from this development of our economic relations. France will continue to work to promote the ratification of both treaties.
Allow me to congratulate all those, especially within the Eurocham, who for years have worked hard to achieve this result.
The European Union and Vietnam will likely sign yet another agreement in the coming weeks, this time in the area of security. Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security, will sign the agreement in August. It will enable Vietnam’s participation in EU crisis management missions.
The agreement will also formalize cooperation, exchange and sharing of experiences, including in United Nations peacekeeping operations. This is another positive step, as Vietnam increases its participation in these operations and has just been commendably elected to the United Nations Security Council for the 2020-21 biennium.
2/These successes with the European Union are happening together with a deepening in our bilateral relations.
After the fruitful visit of Vietnamese Communist Party Secretary-General Nguyen Phu Trong to France in March last year, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe visited Vietnam in November and a few weeks ago the President of the Vietnamese National Assembly, Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, went to Paris and Toulouse for the French-Vietnamese Congress on decentralized cooperation. Finally, the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, has signaled his intention to come to Vietnam.
A series of visits between our two countries at such a high level is unprecedented. Our political and strategic relations are at a high point.
During these visits, agreements and partnerships in numerous fields and contracts worth more than € 21 billion were signed, particularly in the fields of transport, aeronautics and energy.
I would also like to mention the visits of members of our National Assembly and Senate, mayors and presidents of People’s committees of large cities, regions or provinces who travel to formalize cooperation between our two countries. Next week, for instance, we will receive the visit of our National Assembly France-Vietnam friendship group in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
3 / Finally, here in Ho Chi Minh City, our links are strengthening in all areas.
In Economic relations, of course. This is one of my priorities, in connection with the dynamic Business France Agency and the Economic Service of the Embassy.
In all sectors, French companies are very active. They are supported by the France-Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which already brings together 300 companies, and the Foreign Trade Advisers. I wish to thank them.
In the field of education, we have further strengthened our cooperation, with the help of the efficient French Institute of Vietnam.
We have awarded FrancEducation labels to two elite lycées le Hong Phong and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai and we are increasing our cooperation with them. We also cooperate with prestigious high schools like Quoc Hoc in Hue or other institutions in Can Tho and Danang.
At Higher-education level, we are pleased to frequently open new joint degrees between French and Vietnamese universities. I want to further strengthen student mobility, have more Vietnamese students in France and French students in Vietnam. We are on the right track, since we already increased the number of student visas by 30% last year and for the first semester of 2019 the student visa increase is higher than 130%.
Our partnership continues to flourish with the opening of the France Health Building inaugurated by the French Prime Minister and the Vietnamese Minister of Health. We are also working even more closely with our IDECAF partners.
Our cooperation will be further enhanced with the opening of the “Espace France”, which has been approved at the highest level, by the Secretary General of the Vietnamese Communist Party and the President of the French Republic. We are just waiting for a signature in Ho Chi Minh City, which I hope will happen soon.
Finally, in the consular field, the rise of the French community continues throughout the Consular district, in particular in Danang.
Our activity is also very strong in terms of visas. In the past three years, we have doubled the number of visas issued and this year we already have an increase of more than 30%. This is another indicator of the rapid strengthening of relations between our two countries.
To conclude, let me tell you that I will have the pleasure of welcoming you for the second edition of the Franco-Vietnamese Innovation Days, from 27 to 30 November. This is an opportunity to demonstrate that France is also a country of research, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship, even if tonight, it is mainly champagne, wines and French food products that you will appreciate./.
As below the French and Vietnamese versions