14:26 | 04/12/2016 Science - Technology
(VEN) - The ninth session of the Vietnam-UK Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO 9) took place this October in Hanoi under the chairmanship of Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong and UK Minister of State for Trade Policy Lord Price. The two sides shared positive comments on the socioeconomic situation in Vietnam as well as the results of bilateral cooperation in the recent period, and agreed to boost cooperation in a wide range of fields in the coming time, focusing on technology.
Impressions of Vietnam
According to Deputy Minister Hoang Quoc Vuong, the Vietnamese economy has grown impressively in recent years. Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 6.68 percent last year in comparison with 2014, with the per-capita GDP reaching US$2,100, up US$57 compared with 2014.
The export value of Vietnamese goods has risen by 36 times over the past more than two decades and grew 20 times from US$15 billion in 2011 to US$327 billion in 2015. Last year, the import value reached US$165.6 billion, up 12.1 percent compared with 2014.
The domestic market has grown. Total retail sales of goods and revenue from services increased by an average 14 percent annually from 2011-2015 and reached nearly VND3,243 trillion in 2015, a rise of 9.5 percent from 2014. Rapidly growing industries include petroleum extraction and processing, machinery manufacturing, electronics and information technology, aquaculture, agricultural, forest product and seafood processing. The Vietnamese information technology sector has achieved an annual growth rate of 16 percent, ranking fifth in the world, after China, Argentina, India, and Turkey.
Vietnam has also achieved remarkable progress in international integration, with better cooperation with more than 200 countries and territories in various sectors including diplomacy, politics, security, economic, trade, investment, and tourism. Last year, Vietnam finished free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with the EU and signed FTAs with the Republic of Korea and the Eurasian Economic Union. So far, Vietnam has joined FTAs with 55 economies worldwide, including 17 G20 members and all seven members of the G7. This will gradually reduce more than 90 percent of tariff lines to zero percent.
Vietnam ranks ninth in the world in terms of investment attraction. Foreign direct investment (FDI) flows into Vietnam have grown on a stable basis. Last year, Vietnam attracted US$22.76 billion of FDI, a rise of 12.7 percent compared with 2014. With its geo-economic advantages, Vietnam is expected to remain an attractive destination for investors who want to penetrate the ASEAN Economic Community market and 12 member countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Focusing on technological cooperation
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, economic and commercial relations between Vietnam and the UK have expanded continuously in recent years. The UK has become a strategic partner for Vietnam. With bilateral trade of US$5.4 billion in 2015, Vietnam ranked 38th among 241 trading partners of the UK and 25th among 233 exporters to this market, while the UK was Vietnam’s third largest trading partner in the EU. Currently, Vietnam is also the second largest ASEAN exporter to the UK, after Thailand.
Minister of State Lord Price said Vietnam is one of the leading countries in Southeast Asia in terms of trade openness and one of the most attractive investment destinations worldwide. Vietnam is accelerating economic liberalization with 18,000 tariff lines reduced through the TPP. The FTA between Vietnam and the EU will see the elimination of 99 percent of tariff lines.
Minister of State Lord Price added that made-in-Vietnam products such as footwear, clothing, and mobile phones are present in most British families. Branches of the UK life insurance firm, Prudential, are present throughout Vietnam. The UK’s leading pharmaceutical brands have won the trust of Vietnamese consumers.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, along with education, trade, and investment, Vietnam and the UK will boost technological cooperation in the coming time. The two sides will make the most of opportunities and strive to overcome challenges to create new breakthroughs in bilateral cooperation.