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Apr 11, 2023 / 22:16

Vietnam-France conference - a good chance to boost cultural and economic relations

The two nations' bilateral trade value kept rising to nearly $7.45 billion in 2021 and an estimated US$8.5 billion in 2022.

The upcoming 12th Vietnam-France Decentralization Conference will be an occasion to introduce the cultural traits of Vietnam and Hanoi to the international communities.

Le Hong Son, Permanent Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, speaks at the press conference held in Hanoi on April 11. Photo: Tu Anh/The Hanoi Times

Outstanding events include the “Colors of Vietnam” program, featuring 80 booths to showcase local attractions and specialties, and the “Balade en France/Walk in France” Festival, involving 50 French and Vietnamese enterprises to present their products and services in hospitality, food production, and agriculture.

Notable exhibitions in heritage and cultural preservation are also the highlights. The exhibits will display the artifacts of the Thang Long Imperial Citadel relics, the first colored photos taken of Hanoi in the French colonial, and photos of the Temple of Literature showing the renovation of the relics through time.

Conferences and other activities are also held to discuss the conservation of local heritages and the Old Quarter, particularly highlighting the locations under a joint project incorporated by Hanoi and Toulouse.

Conservation of heritages and cultures is among the fields in which Vietnam and France have made joint efforts to promote mutual relations.

“The conference will discuss the activities implemented by Vietnamese and French localities,” said Ngo Minh Hoang, Director of the Hanoi Department of Foreign Affairs, in the press conference introducing the event.

“Four couples of localities will sign their cooperative agreements during the event,” Hoang said.

“Vietnam and France hope to develop our joint economic cooperation and investment, which suits the potentials of both sides,” said Le Hong Son, Permanent Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee.

Key topics to be discussed at the conference are sustainable city development, water management and environmental protection, culture, heritage and tourism, smart city development, and digitalization.

More than 800 delegates from 50 Vietnamese localities and 12 French regions and areas will attend the conference. The delegates represent central ministries, local governments, government and non-government organizations, social communities, universities and colleges, and business communities from Vietnam and France.

Opportunities for businesses

On April 15, the Vietnam-France business forum will be held in Hanoi to discuss the potential cooperation between businesses and government organizations.

Hanoi will host the Vietnam-France Business Forum on April 15. Photo: The Hanoi Times

The forum will be a good opportunity for Vietnamese and French businesspeople, investors, government officials, and organization leaders to share their ideas, initiatives, and solutions to solve existing problems.

It is expected to strengthen their friendly, comprehensive, long-term, and reliable partnership and open up new opportunities for further decentralized cooperation.

Through the Forum, Vietnam is expected to commit to developing a favorable environment for international investors, who will be among the key factors driving the country's socio-economic growth in 2021-2025.

The main activity of the forum is the discussion panel between enterprises, government agencies, and some local-to-local meetings. The forum also has a section that displays the information and products of the localities and companies of both nations.

Some 400 business and government executives will join the business forum. "This will be a special occasion for Hanoi to seek and build new relations with international friends," said Hanoi permanent vice chairman Son.

The forum, one of many side events of the 12th Vietnam-France Decentralized Conference, will be held at the Melia Hotel, 44 Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Hanoi, to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and France and the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Vietnam-France Strategic Partnership Agreement.

The two governments established diplomatic relations after signing the Paris Peace Accords on April 12, 1973. After 50 years, many achievements have been made in social affairs, culture, education, and economic development.

France is now one of Vietnam's largest EU trading partners, and the Western European nation is the EU's fourth-largest export market to Vietnam. The value of bilateral trade between the two nations has continued to rise in recent years, reaching nearly $7.45 billion in 2021 and an estimated $8.5 billion in 2022.

Universities and research institutes in both countries have signed hundreds of agreements to organize numerous exchange and training programs for graduate and post-graduate students. Every year, the French Government sponsors 80 Vietnamese students to study in the country. Over the past 10 years, France has been the third largest host country for Vietnamese students, and the number of overseas Vietnamese students in France has increased by two-fifths to 7,000 people.

Each year, the French Government spends five million euros (US$5.45 million) to promote cultural activities between the two nations in Vietnam. The funds go via French cultural institutes in Hanoi, HCM City, Hue and Danang - Vietnam's largest cities.

In the health sector, Vietnam and France have launched 30 joint medical and pharmaceutical training projects. During the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, Vietnam donated face masks to France. At the same time, the French Government provided 5.5 million doses of vaccine and equipment for Vietnamese medical facilities.