Vietnamese litchi on a shelf in a supermarket in Paris. VNA/VNS Photo
The visit has been said to be a milestone to and strengthen bilateral ties, especially since the EU – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) went into effect in August last year.
France is one of the largest markets within the EU with strong demand for Vietnamese products. Vietnam – France trade turnover has been growing at an average rate of 15.7 per cent annually in 2011-19. The western European market remains Vietnam's fourth-largest buyer and accounts for a total of 10 percent of all Vietnamese export to the EU.
In 2020, due to the pandemic, two-way trade slowed down to a total of US$4.8 billion, a 10 percent decrease from the previous year with Vietnamese exports taking a nosedive to just $3.3 billion, a 12.3 percent decrease, and imports $1.6 billion, a 4.4 percent decrease.
During the first nine months of 2021, Vietnam exported goods and services worth $2.25 billion to France, a 9.9 percent decrease from the same period last year. Vietnamese exports to France included agricultural products, footwear, electronics, handicrafts, gemstones and industrial raw materials.
In order to boost sales of its products, the Vietnamese trade authority has been holding a number of trade promotions within France's supermarkets and distributional channels.
Vietnamese litchi is among the latest agricultural products that have been brought to France and are widely distributed in supermarkets in the Île-de-France region.
One tonne of the tropical fruits, which were geo-tagged using itrace247 technology, allowed French consumers to access not only its origin but also the harvesting and packaging process. The shipment marked the first time the Vietnamese litchi has been brought directly to France.
France's purchase of Vietnamese cashew nuts increased significantly in recent months, bringing the Vietnamese product's market share in France to 63.3 percent by the end of the first quarter of 2021.
The Southeast Asian country has also been purchasing more French products, which mostly consisted of advanced machinery and transport vehicles. France's exports to Vietnam in 2020 topped $1.5 billion.
France has also consistently been among the top investors in Vietnam, ranking 16 of 140 with 632 projects with a total investment amount of $3.6 billion.
Vietnamese exporters' top priority should be quality, according to Vietnam trade representative office in France, as French consumers place great value on product quality. It's also important because of France's many strict regulations on import products, especially agricultural products.
The trade office recommended Vietnamese firms connect with the sizable Vietnamese community in France to acquire their support and expertise and to employ French experts' services.