UK values trade deal with Việt Nam: Scottish Secretary

October 05, 2023 - 15:31
UK-Việt Nam trade is about £6.9 billion at the moment, and Việt Nam-Scotland's trade is about £83 million.
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack talks to the press in Hà Nội. — VNS Photo Trọng Kiên

HÀ NỘI — The United Kingdom values the UK-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA), which has helped the UK accede to the coveted Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack made the remark during the press briefing in Hà Nội as part of his visit on the occasion of the two countries' celebrating 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

The 11-member CPTPP includes Việt Nam, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, and Peru. Together this bloc represents a market of 500 million people and 15 per cent of the global GDP, worth around £12 trillion, Jack noted.

The UK was the first European nation to join this major trade network, and this is also the country's biggest trade pact post-Brexit so far.

"We see great value, having just come out of the European Union and having the ability to do these free trade agreements. We see huge value in that and we believe the value goes both ways," the official remarked.

UK-Việt Nam trade is about £6.9 billion at the moment, and Việt Nam-Scotland's trade is about £83 million.

"We want to build upon that and open up more product lines like pork and poultry to  enhance trade between us, mostly food trade."

The products that the UK is seeking to penetrate the Vietnamese market include brown crabs, North Atlantic salmon, and Scottish single-malt whiskey, which Jack believes to be "the best in the world," especially for high-end tourism sector. Meanwhile, the UK is interested in "delicious prawns," clothing, furniture, and textiles from Việt Nam.

Other than trade, the UK is seeking to develop cooperation ties with Việt Nam in sustainability - working towards net zero, for example, with offshore wind power.

Education is another matter that is important to the future of both countries, Jack said, adding that the contents of cooperation will be training in marketing, technology, and especially Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data, which is the new course that will be taught at the British University Việt Nam (BUV) in Hà Nội under the cooperation with Scotland's Stirling University.

During the packed visit to both Hà Nội and HCM City, Secretary Jack will be meeting with political figures from the Vietnamese government - including foreign minister Bùi Thanh Sơn, deputy agriculture minister Phùng Đức Tiến, deputy commerce and trade minister Nguyễn Sinh Nhật Tân, and Chairman of National Assembly Foreign Affairs Vũ Hải Hà.

Secretary Jack will be visiting textile manufacturer Coats to hear about their operations in Việt Nam, and jointly with the Scotland Whisky Association hosted a whisky reception in Hà Nội for key business representatives, plus a reception in HCM City to promote Scottish produce.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack holds a Lindores whisky product at the reception in Hà Nội. — Photo courtesy of the UK Embassy in Hà Nội

According to the UK Embassy in Hà Nội, Việt Nam is a priority market for Scotch.

Việt Nam is the 24th largest export market by value - direct exports in 2022 were worth £73.9 million equivalent to 7.1m bottles, having grown in value by 371 per cent since 2019. Single malts account for 31 per cent of exports.

About 85 per cent of all whisky drunk in Việt Nam is Scotch.

Under the UKVFTA, the 45 per cent import tariff is being gradually reduced over six years to zero (it is currently 24 per cent). This has been a significant factor in driving exports. — VNS