Deputy PM: Vietnam's prestige grows in France
(VNA): Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh's visit to France has concluded successfully, contributing greatly to increasing Vietnam's prestige in France in particular and in the international arena in general.
This statement was made by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan, who accompanied the Party leader on the visit, in an interview with the press.
He said despite the negative results of the recent polls about the EU Constitution in France, General Secretary Manh was given a warm State welcome by the French President and Government and his working agenda went as scheduled with good results.
During working sessions, the French side, comprising different parties, unanimously agreed to place importance on the ties with Vietnam, Mr Khoan noted.
He further explained that the official visit by Party General Secretary Manh helped further develop the Franco-Vietnam relationship fostered by the two countries' leaders in their previous visits to each other's country.
During the visit, Vietnam and the French Government reached agreements on economic co-operation and investment with a focus on leading industries and important works, the Government leader said, citing France's assistance with feasibility study for the restoration of Long Bien bridge.
He also cited the French President as saying that France has decided to help upgrade Long Bien bridge not only for its economic purpose but because it is a cultural work of architectural value.
Following the agreements, France will give a helping hand in the second phase of a signal project on the railway route between Hanoi and Vinh (central Nghe An province) and a project to develop tram and metro systems in Hanoi.
Deputy PM Khoan said the two sides also agreed that French companies will help Vietnam to build an environmental treatment centre, the first ever in Vietnam. In addition, the two sides signed a protocol on tourism co-operation.
The Deputy PM said, during his contact with French investors and businesses, he saw that they were interested in two matters. Firstly, they were surprised at Vietnam's wonderful achievements in its renovation process, particularly in economic development, he said. They said Vietnam has great potential and the Vietnamese market has favourable conditions for their investment and co-operation, he added. Secondly, French investors and businesses have emphasised favourable conditions - the political stability in Vietnam, together with the Vietnamese people' kindness, cleverness and industriousness, which, they said is a very important factor for them to make their investment decisions and consider long-term business in the country.
Deputy PM Khoan said that as French businesses have confidence in Vietnam's investment environment, France has become the biggest European investor in Vietnam in terms of investment capital and the number of investment projects, including the investment of US $1.5 billion in a project at the Dung Quat oil refinery and more than US $400 million in the Phu My power project. Vietnam has purchased and leased many airplanes from France, and France tripled its official development assistance to Vietnam in 2004.
Commenting on the French Business Association General Secretary's advice to investors that they must have patience to gain success when investing in Vietnam, Deputy PM Khoan said the advice is quite objective. He said that French businesspeople have experiences in running business for 400 years, while their Vietnamese partners, only 20 years. Therefore, Vietnam still has many shortcomings. In addition, Vietnam is now gradually completing its legal system. The two countries are also different in culture, including business culture.
For these reasons, it is clear that French businesses must have patience in order to create consensus with Vietnamese partners so that they can gain success in making investment and developing their business in Vietnam, Deputy PM Khoan said.
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