During the meeting, the Deputy PM hailed the development of economic ties between the two countries with annual bilateral trade reaching roughly 5 billion EUR, saying that both nations have regularly exchanged high-ranking delegations, including a visit to France by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in March 2018 and a trip to Vietnam by French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe in November the same year. Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (R) receives President of Ile-de-France region Valérie Pécresse (Photo: VNA) He also praised Hanoi and Ile-de-France’s signing of a memorandum of understanding on the establishment of a startup incubator named Hanoi French City Lab to support Vietnamese and French startups in urban development, environment, smart city building and sustainable development, which are also the fields of France’s strength and Hanoi’s demand. Minh asked Pécresse to help expedite the European Union (EU) and French parliaments’ ratification of the free trade agreement and the investment protection agreement that Vietnam and the EU signed in late June so as to soon bring about practical benefits to both sides. Pécresse, in turn, described the cooperation between Hanoi and Ile-de-France as a model for Vietnamese and French localities to follow. The Ile-de-France delegation has been on a visit Hanoi to attend the celebration of 30 years of cooperative ties between the two localities.