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French foreign trade minister wraps visit to Vietnam to foster tourism, high-tech cooperation

Matthias Fekl, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad under France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, has just concluded a two-day visit to Vietnam in a bid to boost cooperation with Vietnam in tourism and information technology.

Matthias Fekl, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad under France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, has just concluded a two-day visit to Vietnam in a bid to boost cooperation with Vietnam in tourism and information technology.
Matthias Fekl, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad under France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, has just concluded a two-day visit to Vietnam in a bid to boost cooperation with Vietnam in tourism and information technology.

On Wednesday, Minister Fekl met with Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai at the 3rd annual Vietnam-France high-level economic dialogue, chaired by the French minister and the Vietnamese deputy minister of planning and investment, in Hanoi to review the two sides’ trade ties and seek new approaches to the promotion of their coordination.

Yesterday was the last day of the French official’s visit.

The French minister expressed his hope that the two nations would further their cooperation in aviation, satellite supply, energy, and infrastructure.

Also in the capital, Minister Fekl joined a ceremony to sign an agreement between the French Embassy in Vietnam and six local travel firms on more convenient visa application procedures.

The six travel companies include Hanoi Red Tours, Naci Travel, Hanoi Iso Tours, Hanoi Tourist, South Pacific Travel, and Vietfoot Travel.

This is the first time that France has reached such a deal with Vietnamese tour agencies regarding simplification in visa granting policy in an effort to lure more Vietnamese visitors to the European country, Minister Fekl told Tuoi Tre News on the sidelines of a meeting in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday.

The deal enables groups of possible Vietnamese tourists to make priority appointments with the French Embassy, and simplified paperwork for those who have made it to Europe or several other countries before, he said at the meeting with French IT and technology firms.

The move is meant to keep up with the rising number of Vietnamese tourists to France in the past two years, with 24,269 visas granted in 2014, up 28.7 percent compared with 2013, of which nearly 11,000 were tourist visas, an increase of 62 percent, according to Jean-Noel Poirier, French Ambassador to Vietnam.

It is expected to welcome even more Vietnamese holidaymakers to the European country, Poirie said.

During the Ho Chi Minh City meeting, Minister Fekl talked to the French Viet Tech community which gathers French companies operating in technologies and digital content in Tan Binh District.

The French minister also discussed the future establishment of the French Tech Hub, which will operate as a French House in the southern city for displaying French high-tech products and for French small- and medium-sized enterprises specializing in IT to do research and development work.

It will also be a venue for Vietnamese firms to seek opportunities for cooperation with French companies, Minister Fekl said.