UK seeks post-Brexit trade cooperation with Vietnam

10:50 | 28/06/2018 Cooperation

(VEN) - The 10th meeting of the UK-Vietnam Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) 2018 took place on June 11 in Manchester, the United Kingdom (UK). The event, co-chaired by UK Minister of State for Trade Policy Greg Hands and Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong, was aimed at removing trade barriers between the two countries.

uk seeks post brexit trade cooperation with vietnam
Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong (left) and UK Minister of State for Trade Policy Greg Hands sign a cooperation agreement

The two sides affirmed their commitment to boost bilateral trade further as stated in the joint statement on the UK-Vietnam strategic partnership signed in 2010.

The meeting, marking the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, focused on economic and trade issues of mutual concern, easing short-term barriers to trade and improving market access for UK products exported to Vietnam, such as meat, spirits, pharmaceuticals, and education programs. Also on the agenda was boosting cooperation in safeguarding intellectual property rights, culture and tourism, energy, and between UK and Vietnamese universities.

It is known that the UK Export Finance (UKEF) has doubled last year’s risk support for Vietnam, with GBP1.5 billion made available to support UK exporters and their trading partners in the country. Greg Hands said Vietnam is growing at nearly seven percent a year, lifting millions of people out of poverty and increasing demand for high-quality British goods. Therefore, the UK government has made GBP1.5 billion available to support UK exporters.

“As we leave the EU, we are keen to boost trade with fast-growing Asian economies. This will particularly benefit regions like the northwest of England. A key part of the government’s Northern Powerhouse and modern industrial strategy is to increase growth outside of London and the southeast,” Hands said.

Bilateral trade between the two countries has steadily increased in recent years, from US$4.27 billion in 2013 to US$6.15 billion in 2017, a 44 percent rise with a surplus in Vietnam’s favor. Vietnam’s exports to the UK mainly include telephones and components, garments and textiles, footwear, wood and wood products, computers, electronic products and components, while importing machinery and equipment, tools and spare parts, pharmaceuticals and chemical products.

According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, Vietnam’s exports to the UK reached US$1.31 billion in the first quarter of the year, an increase of 30.6 percent compared to a year ago. Meanwhile, imports stood at US$185 million, a year-on-year increase of 17.6 percent. These figures reached US$1.75 billion and US$238 million in the first four months of the year, respectively.

The UK is currently Vietnam’s third largest European trading partner after Germany and the Netherlands, and Vietnam’s second largest European investor after the Netherlands with 267 projects for total registered capital of US$3.75 billion.

As part of the event, representatives of more than 100 UK companies seeking cooperation with Vietnam took part in a business forum sponsored by the UK Department for International Trade, Manchester City, the UK-ASEAN Business Council and the Vietnamese side.

JETCO is an effective dialogue channel, helping to tackle bilateral trade barriers and creating a more optimal

business climate for the two countries’ businesses. It has contributed to promoting cooperation between the two sides

in all fields to match the potential.

Nguyen Huong