Thanks to arrangements made by HE Ambassador Thao, several members of the VUKN Committee, including the Chairman and both Vice-Chairmen, met for almost an hour on 31 May with a high level delegation from Vietnam’s National Assembly on a weeklong visit to the UK. The others members involved were Dragon Capital, Aston University, Monochrome and KPMG.
Leading the 9-strong Vietnamese delegation was HE Madam Tong Thi Phong MP, Vice-President of the National Assembly and a Politburo Member since 2011. She was accompanied by 4 other MPs: Vo Trong Viet, Chairman of the National Defence and Security Committee, Nguyen Thanh Hai, Chairwoman of the Culture, Education, Youth and Children’s Committee, Ngo Duc Manh, Vice-Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Mr Nguyen Lam Thanh, Vice-Chair of the council for Ethnic Minorities, and four officials. Ambassador Thao and Embassy officials also sat in.
Following remarks by Ben Chapman on the Network’s role and aspirations, and on the hard work put in by the Embassy, discussion was wide-ranging. It was led by Madam Phong who, after welcoming President Obama’s recent visit, described the growing role of the National Assembly, which she claimed was increasingly representative of the population. She accepted it was different in various respects from Britain’s Parliamentary system, which she was keen to observe. She welcomed the big increase in bilateral trade and in investment from the UK, making it clear that her country was keen to become more productive and competitive. She urged companies like Harvey Nash, already a large employer, to increase still further its investment in human capital and skills training in Vietnam. The representative from Aston described their project in Danang and the need for faster progress. Madam Phong vowed to help in any way she could. The Monochrome, KPMG and Dragon Capital representatives each described their interest and involvement in Vietnam, with Madam Phong welcoming their engagement in areas, including financing, handling capital flows and SMEs, from which Vietnam could learn and benefit. Madam Phong thanked the Network for its important role in support of the bilateral relationship, and hoped to meet with members of the Committee expected to visit Vietnam in October.