|British Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Việt Nam Edward Vaizey. Photo Diễm Quỳnh|
British Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Việt Nam, Edward Vaizey, tells Vietnam News Agency’s Phạm Diễm Quỳnh in an exclusive interview that one of his top priorities is to make sure the British government realises how important it is to conclude a free trade agreement with Việt Nam because it is one of the fastest growing and most dynamic economies in Asia.
As the Prime Minister’s trade envoy to Việt Nam, what would you do to promote British-Việt Nam trade relations?
I’m looking forward to representing the British government and working with the Vietnamese Government to promote relations between our two countries. A lot of people have heard of Việt Nam in Britain, but I don’t think they understand quite what a dynamic and amazing country it is. For example, very few British people realise how large Việt Nam is and how many people live there. Few people know of the leading industries in Việt Nam, from coffee through to technology, and I think there are great opportunities for our countries to work together.
I would also like to promote tourism to Việt Nam. I think a lot of British tourists would really enjoy visiting the country.
The World Bank recently said that Việt Nam would expand its economy at an average of 6.3 per cent in the next three years. What opportunities do you see for British business in term of trade and investment?
We look at Việt Nam and see an incredible, dynamic economy growing quickly - and we are envious. It’s impressive and gives Britain opportunities to work in this dynamic market. Vietnamese have a great deal of respect for the British education system and I hope that our universities can increase their presence in Việt Nam.
British companies can work with a modern Vietnamese economy on technology and industrial issues, including new forms of energy and big construction and infrastructure projects. We have good engineering companies in Britain. Many British companies manufacture goods in Việt Nam because we have huge respect for the skill and craftsmanship of Vietnamese workers. We hope that we can work with the Vietnamese government on these kind of issues.
As Britain leaves the European Union, how do you see the prospect of a British-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement?
I hope we can conclude a free trade agreement with Việt Nam. I know that the European Union is also looking to conclude an agreement, and it may be easy simply to look at what the European Union has done with Việt Nam and for us to follow and conclude a similar free-trade agreement.
One of my top priorities will be to promote trade between Việt Nam and Britain and to make sure the British government realises how important this is. I would like to see much closer links between our two countries.
Việt Nam is preparing to host the APEC Summit. How do you see the event?
Well, I think it’s very exciting that the APEC Summit is happening in Việt Nam. Twenty one member economies in Asia and the Pacific come together and look at how to increase trade.
Our Prime Minister regrets the fact that the United States withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but it is also clear that the region itself is so strong that it can take forward the Trans-Pacific Partnership and develop much closer trade links between these countries. And certainly I know Britain would want to have some involvement. We favour anything that removes trade barriers between countries and leads to much more choice for people living in those countries - much better goods and lower prices.
What is your view on the importance of maritime security in Asia-Pacific?
Maritime security is one of the issues regularly raised with me, and obviously it is important that we keep secure international waters and the ability for ships to move goods around the region. And obviously, Britain has a long history in maritime issues and its government will assist the region with any issues where they feel that our experience might bring some benefit.-- VNS