Over 120 business, education and government people attended the VUKN’s Summer lunch on 10 July, in The Cholmondeley Room, House of Lords.
After introducing our host, Lord Dholakia, Deputy Leader of the Lib-Dems in the Lords, Vice Chairman Paul Smith highlighted the presence of our Special Guest George Hollingbery MP, Minister of State for Trade Policy and HE the Ambassador of Vietnam Mr Tran Ngoc An, the presence of several Members from both Houses, and he welcomed officials dealing with Vietnam from the Department for International Trade(DIT).
After Lord Dholakia’s welcome to the House and words of support to the relationship and the Network, lunch was served. George Hollingbery then spoke of the importance he attached to the growth in bilateral business and his planned attendance at the upcoming Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) talks with the Vietnamese Government in October this year. HE Ambassador An spoke of the impressive increase in bilateral business, including some investment from Vietnam to the UK, as well as the recently signed FTA with the EU. He emphasised the opportunity, once the agreement has been ratified by the EU, for British business with a 90% reduction in tariffs phasing in over the early implementation of the agreement. He expressed his confidence that Vietnam would conclude a bilateral FTA agreement after BREXIT on the same terms. Will Sorrell, Managing Director, International Design Biennale, spoke of the tremendous creative success of last years event in London with the support of VNUK and member companies, and of Vietnam’s participation in the 2020 Design Biennale event which showcases the creativity of the Vietnamese people and the implementation in product design.
Thanks to Vietnam Airlines’ generosity, a draw was held, and one lucky winner was presented with two return tickets to Vietnam. Rounding off the lunch and the networking drinks on the terrace which preceded it, Vice Chairman Paul Smith reminded those present of the VUKN’s aims, and of the fact that it is a voluntary body, run by volunteers and receiving no funding from governments. It depended on sponsors for support to enable it to carry out its activities in a wide range of fields. He hoped more people and companies would come forward to assist, not least with an exciting Women in Business event planned for October. Vietnam was a profitable place for many British businesses and here was an opportunity to celebrate and to put something back.
Photo of the Lunch can be found here.