08:39 | 25/01/2019 MUTRAP Corner
(VEN) - Britain’s exit from the European Union could create new opportunities to advance trade and investment with Vietnam, according to a recent assessment by the UK Ambassador to Vietnam, Gareth Ward.
|UK Ambassador to Vietnam, Gareth Ward|
Vietnam and the UK marked the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties in 2018, with both sides forecasting that prospects for their future relationship are even brighter, especially in trade and investment.
Vietnam-UK relations have been constantly strengthened, especially after the signing of a joint statement on the establishment of a strategic partnership in September 2010, which elevated cooperation in seven key areas: Political, global and regional issues; trade and investment; sustainable socioeconomic development; education and training; science and technology; security and defense; and people-to-people links.
Two-way trade between the UK and Vietnam has increased rapidly, reaching US$6.1 billion in 2017 and US$4.8 billion in the first three quarters of 2018. Vietnam’s exports to the UK reached US$4.2 billion, an increase of 9.68 percent compared to a year ago, mainly exports of phones and components, garments and textiles, leather and footwear. Vietnam’s imports from the UK totaled US$594.6 million, a year-on-year increase of 14.56 percent, with the main imports being pharmaceutical products, iron and steel scraps, chemicals, machinery and equipment.
British businesses began investing in Vietnam since 1988, initially focusing on oil and gas (70 percent of total investment), then expanding to many new areas such as finance and banking, manufacturing and processing. The UK currently has 344 investment projects worth US$3.48 billion in Vietnam in various fields of finance and banking, production, services, garment and textile, mining, oil and gas, and real estate, ranking 15th among the countries and territories investing in Vietnam. Vietnam has 13 investment projects in the UK with total capital of US$12.47 million in tourism, restaurants, sports and the arts.
With more than 12,000 students studying in the UK, the Vietnamese community there has increased to 100,000, helping foster relations between the two nations.
|The first-ever UK Inspire Me Festival opened in Hanoi to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Vietnam-UK diplomatic ties (1993-2018)|
New areas of cooperation
The UK Ambassador to Vietnam Gareth Ward noted the activities to celebrate 45 years of Vietnam-UK diplomatic ties, including the arrival of the Royal Navy’s HMS Albion at Ho Chi Minh City’s international port, the UK Festival in Hanoi, and the visit of the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, to Vietnam. He said such activities are of great importance to promoting ties between the two countries.
According to Ward, this is a favorable time for the two countries to develop economic and trade relations, given Vietnam’s growing position in the region. Vietnam’s achievements in poverty reduction, efforts to improve the economy’s competitiveness and active participation in multilateral and bilateral forums have opened up cooperation opportunities for both countries.
Vietnam plays a very important role in the UK’s trade strategy because the country prioritizes maintaining relations with developing economies after Brexit, with a focus on innovation, creativity and partnerships, Ward said. Ward also said British and Vietnamese universities would develop additional research cooperation and skill training programs for Vietnamese teachers.
Despite trade tensions in the world, the UK will continue to promote trade relations globally, among them with Vietnam, he pledged.
Brexit poses challenges for the UK, but also provides the country with opportunities, especially in strengthening relations with other countries like Vietnam. The British government believes Vietnam will be an important trade pact partner, Ward stressed.