The British Ambassador to Vietnam, Gareth Ward, was Guest of Honour at a Vietnam-UK Network lunch in London on 25 June 2019. Twenty-five guests attended, representing a wide range of sectors including technology, education, healthcare, infrastructure, and finance. Ambassador Gareth Ward has now been in post for twelve month and gave a detailed update on two main themes, Vietnam industrial strategy 4.0, and soft power & attractiveness of Vietnam in the UK. He emphasized the tremendous new opportunities for UK businesses as Vietnam transitions from commodities, manufacturing focus to technology driven products and services, this closely matches the UK’s expertise. He also recognised some of the challenges in Vietnam such as human rights, media freedom and labour standardisation, the recently agreed FTA between the EU and Vietnam not only covers trade but specifically addresses these issues.
This opened to a lively discussion, well led by our Vice Chair, Paul Smith where everyone from different sectors gave their views on the opportunities and challenges in Vietnam.