Measures to further deepen trade ties between Việt Nam and UK discussed

August 25, 2023 - 10:36
The discussions was focused on around innovative strategies to further deepen trade ties between the two countries.
Delegates at the second meeting of the Việt Nam-UK Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA) Trade Committee. — VNS Photo LyLy Cao

HÀ NỘI — Measures were discussed at the Second Trade Committee Meeting of the Việt Nam-UK Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA) to boost trade between the two countries.

The meeting, which was held on Thurday, was co-chaired by Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Phan Thị Thắng and British Minister of State for International Trade Nigel Huddleston.

Reports on previous meetings of professional committees were presented at the meeting.

Thắng and Huddleston appreciated the efforts of the committees in coordinating to solve problems and updating each other on each side’s legal regulations, contributing to effectively implementing the UKVFTA.

The two sides also discussed a wide range of sectors, including measures to increase access for Vietnamese rice in the UK market and to calculate the FTA utilisation rate.

At the end of the meeting, Thắng and Huddleston agreed on continuing to actively and closely cooperate at all levels to further enhance the exploitation of commitments of the deal, contributing to promoting bilateral trade and investment.


Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Phan Thị Thắng at the event. VNA/VNS Photo

The same day, Thắng and Huddleston co-chaired the 13th meeting of the Joint Committee on Economic and Trade Cooperation between Việt Nam and the UK (JETCO 13) in Hà Nội.

Deputy Minister Thắng said the cooperation mechanism of the joint committee has recorded sustainable development, contributing to resolving policy obstacles, and building a more favourable business environment for enterprises of both sides.

The bilateral cooperative relationship between the two countries has witnessed remarkable leaps across economic sectors, she stressed.

During the meeting, both sides frankly discussed the fields of energy, healthcare, finance-banking, trade and investment, and tourism.

Việt Nam updated the UK side on the implementation of the National Power Development Plan VIII, as well as details about the direct power purchase agreement (DPPA) mechanism between renewable energy generators and big electricity consumers.

The Vietnamese side thanked the UK for its support in the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) mechanism, and proposed the UK further support Việt Nam's energy transition process, and help Việt Nam improve its capacity in managing and operating the power system, and developing the electricity market.

Regarding healthcare partnerships, Việt Nam provided the UK with information regarding the amended Pharmacy Law, a topic that the UK is interest in. Việt Nam also proposed the UK cooperate in scientific research, technology transfer, medicine and vaccine production, and enhance academic exchange between the two countries.

The UK side expressed its willingness to cooperate with Việt Nam in healthcare, while mentioning the ASEAN health programme and the health innovation centre in HCM City which the UK plans to implement.

For agriculture, food and beverage, the UK showed interest in Việt Nam's guidance and support for market opening registration for the UK's poultry, beef, and seafood products in Việt Nam. Meanwhile, Việt Nam hoped that the UK would support Việt Nam in improving the capacity for research on infectious diseases from animals to humans, as well as in technology transfer for producing new vaccines against new viruses.

Both sides shared their special interest in Fintech, expressing their hope for more cooperation opportunities in building capacity in this area in the near future.

Regarding bilateral trade and investment, Việt Nam welcomed the UK’s membership in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and proposed the UK provide relevant technical assistance programmes for Việt Nam.

Notably, the two sides agreed to promote discussion on tourism cooperation, saying that the tourism development between the two countries will help promote bilateral trade, investment and education-training collaboration.

Huddleston affirmed the matters discussed at JETCO 13 will be further implemented through technical cooperation programmes between the two nations, towards lifting the bilateral relations to a new height.

Trade between the countries declined in the first months of 2023 but rebounded in recent months. According to data from the General Department of Vietnam Customs, trade between Việt Nam and the UK rose 0.5 per cent to US$3.95 billion in the first seven months of the year, of which Việt Nam's exports of nearly $3.5 billion, down slightly by 0.1 per cent year-on-year.

Meanwhile, Việt Nam's imports from the UK rose 6 per cent on-year to $460.1 million over the same period last year.

During the period, the UK invested in 28 new projects with total registered capital of £44.9 million in Việt Nam.

The UK currently has run 536 direct investment projects in the country with total registered capital of $4.28 billion, ranking 15th among 143 foreign investors in the country.

The UKVFTA officially took effect on May 1, 2021. Many Vietnamese strong products have the opportunity to access the UK market as many countries do not have an FTA with the UK.

The third meeting of the UKVFTA Trade Committee is expected to hold in London in 2024. — VNS