Friday, December 25, 2009

French Prime Minister’s Visit to Vietnam

In his first recent visit to Vietnam by a French prime minister since the two countries established diplomatic relations, Francois Fillon had discussed, with his Vietnamese counterpart, cooperation in many important areas that resulted in the signing of 13 bilateral agreements. Parallel to commitments at the state's level, representatives of the accompanying business mission comprising of 40 leading French corporations and companies in energy, aerospatial, telecommunications and so on are also looking for joint venture opportunities.

Support and Cooperation
Regarding France as a special and prioritized partner in Europe, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has expressed his wishes to witness a strong French presence in Vietnam in all economic, political, cultural and educational sectors. The head of the French Government, who considers Vietnam the gateway to expand its presence in South East Asia, has acknowledged his expectations. Fillon has reiterated that the French Development Agency (AFD) will continue its support and cooperation with Vietnam in major projects such as underground metro, electricity, overhauling of the Long Bien Bridge, measures to deal with negative effects from climate change and rising sea water.Also taking part in the discussion meetings, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan has shown his pleasure when the French party has pledged to actively push forward the project to establish a Science and Technology University in Hanoi of which an official agreement was signed right after the meeting. Furthermore, France also pledged to assist in training 400 teaching doctorates for this university.However, the most important agreements reached by the two parties are in the field of nuclear energy, aviation, maritime security and defense.

Civil Nuclear Issue
With the signing of the inter-government agreement in civil nuclear cooperation with Vietnam, the world leading country using nuclear energy in total energy consumption (more than 75 percent) has made one step closer in the race to win the contract to supply technological process to the first Vietnamese nuclear project.
It is known that the number of prospective partners in this project has been short-listed to France, Japan and Russia and the Vietnamese side is still weighing the option depending on the advantageous edges of each country.

Development in Aviation Sector
Although with a value of no more than one fourth of the project to supply a small satellite for monitoring natural resources, environment and natural disasters (13.9 million euro compared to 55.8 million euro), the financial protocol for the project to put in place a network system to conduct surveillance of fishing vessels, fishing grounds and marine resources by satellite technology has a more practical and strategic meaning for the Vietnamese marine exploitation sector, particularly, ocean fishing as a way to deal with natural calamities and sea piracy. This is the most meaningful of all the signed projects this time.The agreement signed with Airbus group to purchase more Airbus planes for Vietnam Airlines is considered as an exchange for the promise that France will assist Vietnam to develop aeronautic industry. According to the MOU between Vietnam Airlines and EADS, the two parties will further discuss in detail the implementation of the project to manufacture some component parts for Airbus in Vietnam.The defense cooperation agreement will open the opportunity for Vietnam to purchase defense equipment from France. Adding to the aforementioned sectors, the two countries also signed other agreements through which France will provide preferential credit for the underground metro, thermal power and people credit funds projects. In the cultural area, an agreement on the establishment and management status of Vietnamese-French Cultural Centers has been also signed.

No comments: