Promoting Vietnam-UK Strategic Partnership

9:17:40 AM | 8/16/2021

Vietnam and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) established diplomatic relations on September 11, 1973. The two countries signed the Joint Declaration "Partnership for Development" in 2008 and upgraded it to "Strategic Partnership" in 2010. The long-standing traditional relationship is now at the best stage, developing comprehensively and extensively in all fields.

Over 48 years of diplomatic relations, many high-level official visits have been exchanged between the two countries, especially in recent times, demonstrating the interest of the two countries' leaders in promoting bilateral relations to a new level.

Trade is a priority and also a highlight in the strategic partnership between the two countries. The UK has always been the leading trade and investment partner of Vietnam in the EU. The products that Vietnam has the advantage of exporting to the UK are seafood, furniture, textiles, footwear, computers, phones and electronic components.

Marking a new beginning in the strategic partnership since 2010 is the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA), signed on December 31, 2020. With this agreement, the door of economic and trade cooperation between Vietnam and the UK has been opened wide, becoming a driving force to promote the two countries' relations more comprehensively and deeply. Before this FTA, trade growth increased by 15-20%, but with the agreement in place, bilateral trade will certainly have the opportunity to grow even more strongly.

Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK Nguyen Hoang Long said that trade between Vietnam and the UK increased by 25% in the first six months of the year and the goal of doubling the bilateral trade value to US$10 billion within the next five years was doable.

The UK is one of the major official development aid (ODA) donors for Vietnam with about 70% of the budget supporting poverty reduction programs, health care, clean water, education, etc. The UK is currently the leading partner of Vietnam in the field of education with 74 transnational education programs of 23 British universities.

The relationship became even more special when the UK became a dialogue partner of ASEAN on August 4, 2021, contributing to tightening the relationship between the UK and the region, including Vietnam, on issues from trade and investment to climate change, environment, science and technology, and education.

In order to further promote the relationship with Vietnam, within 9 months, UK First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Dominic Raab made two official working visits to Vietnam.

In a recent meeting on June 22 with Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh, Secretary Dominic Raab affirmed that Vietnam is an important strategic partner of the UK in the region, especially in the context of post-Brexit Britain implementing adjusted policies to strengthen cooperation with the Indo-Pacific region.

Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh highly appreciated the positive developments of the Vietnam - UK strategic partnership over the past time and wished that the UK would create favorable conditions for Vietnamese exports to access the UK market to take advantage of this great opportunity from the UKVFTA. The Deputy Prime Minister also affirmed that Vietnam is ready to create all favorable conditions for British businesses to expand investment, especially in potential fields such as renewable energy development, digital economy, banking and insurance. financial services, education and training.

The two sides agreed to soon resume the exchange of delegations, especially high-level delegations, and at the same time restore cooperation mechanisms to normal when conditions for disease control allow promoting cooperation content, in the spirit of the Joint Declaration on the Strategic Partnership for the next 10 years.

As British Undersecretary of State for Asia and the Pacific Heather Wheeler wrote in an article after her visit to Vietnam last year, it is certain that the future will be wide open if Vietnam and the UK work together in the spirit of optimism about sustainable growth, prosperity and the opportunities for both countries.

By Giang Tu, Vietnam Business Forum