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November 24, 2007

ASEAN-FRANCE : Trade
French, SE Asian businesses meet

HA NOI — Two hundred and fifty business executives and experts from France and ASEAN countries gathered at the first two-day ASEAN Forum held yesterday in Ha Noi, focused on the major topic: "ASEAN: a market to conquer".
"Enterprises from both Viet Nam and France should improve business relations and actively seek investments and the co-operation opportunities that Viet Nam’s integration into the World Trade Organisation brings," Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai said at the forum.
The forum has been organised every two years since 1991 by the French Foreign Trade Advisors; the French group Medef International; the French trade office Ubifrance; the French Ministry of Economy, Finance and Employment, and the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.
Speaking at the forum, Hai said, "The forum has an important significance for multilateral and bilateral relations between Viet Nam, France and all ASEAN countries."
"Viet Nam is an attractive, safe and stable destination for foreign investment. This is also affirmed by prestigious international institutions," Hai said.

"Comprehensive relations between Viet Nam and the EU, especially France, in recent years have been developing strongly. Though the bilateral trade relationship between the two countries has brought about positive results, the achievements have not matched the countries’ potentials and diverse advantages."
He expected that the forum would be a driving force, helping to fortify co-operation between Viet Nam, the EU and France and, thereby creating a new, efficient relationship for the 21th century.
Herve Novelli, French Secretary of State for Enterprises and Foreign Trade, said that the operation of French companies in ASEAN was still weak when compared to other countries in the region.
"French companies should be aware of the region’s dynamic economic development, boosting business co-operation and improving their efficiency," Novelli said.
The forum gave us a chance to review what was good and what was not, to find a way to improve the situation, he added.
He believed "French enterprises are completely able to occupy an important position in ASEAN countries."
Anne Bouverot, vice chairwoman of France Telecom’s International Business Development, said at the forum, "With a young population, a rapidly growing economy and an fast-improving communications network, the ASEAN region in general and Viet Nam in particular are indeed strategic markets for France Telecom."

Courtesy VNS

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