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May 05, 2023 / 22:11

Vietnam, UK eye lifting relations: State President Vo Van Thuong

The UK-Vietnam relations are at the time of strongest partnership and there remain so many more possibilities.

Vietnam and the UK are making efforts to boost cooperation in different fields towards upgraded relations in the near future, according to Vietnamese State President Vo Van Thuong.

 Vietnam's President Vo Van Thuong (R) and British Ambassador to Vietnam Iain Frew at a meeting in Hanoi in late April. Photo: VNA

Vietnam is seeking the UK’s expertise in education, finance, and pharmaceuticals to make them key sectors for further partnership, President Vo Van Thuong said at a meeting with the Vietnamese community during his visit to the UK to attend the coronation of Charles III and his wife, Camilla, as king and queen of the UK and the other Commonwealth realms on May 6.

Iain Frew, British ambassador to Vietnam, believes this is a significant occasion because it has been 70 years since the UK held a coronation ceremony. Therefore, it is crucial that President Vo Van Thuong and other world leaders visit England to take part in this significant occasion.

During the visit, President Vo Van Thuong is anticipated to meet with King Charles III and Queen Camilla, government and parliamentary leaders, and some British ministers, strengthening ties between Vietnam and the British government and royal family.

Additionally, President Thuong will meet with representatives of business associations, top universities, and friendship groups who have significantly influenced the growth of bilateral ties.

According to Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK Nguyen Hoang Long, this is the second visit to the UK by a Vietnamese State President after nearly two decades.

The UK is Vietnam's third-largest trading partner in Europe. The UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA) commits the UK and Vietnam to varying degrees of market openness. This agreement and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) are anticipated to produce opportunities for trade between Vietnam and the UK and Vietnam and other European partners.

The people of Vietnam and the UK have continued to uphold the spirit of solidarity and sharing during the Covid-19 pandemic thanks to the two nations' longstanding positive relationships.

With a vaccine jointly developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, the UK is a significant contributor to the global vaccine-sharing mechanism COVAX. The UK has provided Vietnam with millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine via COVAX and bilateral channels.

Regarding the relationship between Vietnam and the UK, Ambassador Frew described the UK-Vietnam relations are at the time of “strongest partnership” and that he was at the center of excitement to witness. And “there are so many more possibilities” for the relations. 

The ambassador said it will likely launch plans in 2023 to redevelop the British Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City into a building fit for a modern financial center.

Notably, they will launch the first-ever UK-Vietnam People-to-People Dialogue to see businesses, academics, educational organizations, and others build and foster links between the UK and Vietnam outside the traditional Government to Government framework.

Ambassador Frew said the two countries have already shown that they can work together to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges as they supported each other throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

And now, the two countries continue to work on global issues such as climate change, following Prime Minister Chinh’s visit to Glasgow last year for COP26, where he made the historic net zero commitment. They have also been working on the Just Energy Transition Partnership.

The bilateral trade in goods and services reached US$6.6 billion in 2021, 17.2% on year, thanks to the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA).