Dec 17, 2020 / 14:33

Big step with long-term and strategic impact

The UK and Vietnam announced on December 11 the conclusion of the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA).

The negotiations went quickly and were effective. The final results have been very important for the two sides and impressive for all: The UK and Vietnam announced on December 11 the conclusion of the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA). 

 British Ambassador to Vietnam Gareth Ward attends the UK company's headquarter in Ho Chi Minh City.

In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, of the perspectives of Brexit and of the fact that the free trade agreement between Vietnam and the EU (EVFTA) which the UK will soon leave totally already was took into effect on this year's August 1, this agreement implies a big step with long-term and strategic significance for both the UK and Vietnam.

First of all, the UKVFTA is a clear new sign of the good and trustful relationships between the two countries. It demonstrated how strategically important the one is for the other just in today's world. Both negatively impacted by the pandemic, Vietnam and the UK need new impetus for effectively enhancing their fight against the pandemic, to strengthen their economic growth and bilateral trade. The UKVFTA will give them new opportunities, proper ways and promising means to successfully tackle these challenges. 

But there is more than only that, for both sides. The UK is no longer in the EU. The terms and contents of the UKVFTA are mostly common with those in the EVFTA. That helped the UK and Vietnam to have had been able to quickly concluded their negotiations and continue their cooperation after Brexit as like as before Brexit. It is very important for Vietnam after Brexit because as member of EU, the UK is Vietnam's second-largest trade partner, and for the UK because after Brexit it needs more than ever traditional trade partners like Vietnam. The UKVFTA will improve Vietnam's economic and trade competition capabilities in the UK market.

For the UK, the free trade agreement with Vietnam will open new opportunities to increase its presence in South East Asia, in East Asia and in the Asia-Pacific as whole. In this region, the UK until now has only bilateral free trade agreements with Japan, Singapore and Vietnam. After Brexit, the UK will be needing much more than theses three. Recently, the ten members of ASEAN established with China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand the world's present biggest free trade zone called RCEP. Vietnam would become a new gate for the UK in doing business with other members of RCEP.

Last but not least, the UK can rely on Vietnam's constructive and effective supports for possibly joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) which is now already in force without any participation of the US, China and EU.

That is why it is true when saying that the UKVFTA was a milestone in the ties between the UK and Vietnam.  

Disclaimer: The views expressed by Ambassador Tran Duc Mau are of his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Hanoitimes.