|The first batch of jasmine rice was shipped to the UK under the UKVFTA last year. — VNA/VNS Photo
HCM CITY — Việt Nam will create the most favourable conditions for British investors to expand trade and investment in the country as part of an effort to carry out the ASEAN-United Kingdom Dialogue Partnership action plan.
Building on the UK’s long-standing relations with ASEAN, the conferment of the ASEAN Dialogue Partnership to the UK last year is expected to strengthen ties between the UK and ASEAN member countries, especially Việt Nam.
Speaking at a recent meeting with British Ambassador Gareth Ward, Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính stressed the major role of the UK – Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA) in realising the action plan.
The trade deal, which took effect last year, has helped not only to boost bilateral trade between Việt Nam and the UK but also swing the door wide open for the investment of UK companies in Việt Nam.
The PM proposed that both nations continue taking advantage of preferences from the trade deal to improve bilateral economic, trade, and investment cooperation.
He called on UK investors to invest in Việt Nam’s many fields such as green growth, digital transformation, start-ups and innovation, education and training, and pharmaceutical manufacturing.
British Ambassador to Việt Nam Ward said the UK would continue assisting Việt Nam in its sustainable development, especially in the fields of climate change response and green and sustainable growth.
“I have already come into contact with British ventures that are willing to invest in Việt Nam,” he added.
Last year, there were 48 newly granted direct investment projects from the UK into Việt Nam with newly registered capital of more than US$53 million, posting a 157 per cent year-on-year increase.
The UK is among 12 countries with the largest direct investment capital in Việt Nam, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
As of July 20, the UK’s total registered investment capital in Việt Nam was $4.16 billion for 475 valid projects, including $62 million in the first seven months of 2022, the ministry said.
Many British companies are currently operating in Việt Nam such as Prudential, Standard Chartered, Pacific Land, and Enterprize Energy.
Việt Nam and the UK have agreed to soon revise legal regulations on accessing markets, simplifying import procedures, and removing any barriers to trade and investment.
According to the UK’s Department for International Trade, with a per capita income of about $3,700 last year, Việt Nam is a large consumer market with high potential. Its proportion of middle-income households is also growing, accounting for 13 per cent in 2020.
With the UKVFTA coming into effect, the UK has become the third largest European trade partner and the top European investor in Việt Nam.
Trade volumes increased 17 per cent in 2020 and a further 11 per cent in 2021 with the balance very much in Việt Nam’s favour with the reduction in tariffs on many items such as footwear, clothing and food products.
Two-way trade between Việt Nam and the UK reached nearly $6.6 billion last year, up 17.2 per cent year-on-year despite the challenges caused by the pandemic.
The figure reached $3.3 billion in the first half of the year.
The UKVFTA immediately removes taxes on 94 per cent of a total of 547 fruits and vegetables and their products, including many items that are strengths of Việt Nam such as litchi, longan, rambutan, dragon fruit, pineapple and melon.
Six years after the agreement goes into effect, the UK will eliminate import taxes on 99.2 per cent of tariff lines.
|Workers process tra fish at Sao Mai Corp’s factory in An Giang Province. Tra fish exports to the UK increased six-fold in the first half of 2022. –VNA/VNS Photo