Virtual Event: Vietnam- UK Free Trade Agreement

14th December 2020. 10.00am

The Vietnam UK Network were delighted to hold a virtual event with senior ministers and members of the teams responsible for reaching this important agreement which was signed in Hanoi on Friday 11 December. The FTA is the third to be concluded by the UK in Asia, following those with Japan and Singapore. The event, attended by over 60 senior businesspeople with a significant interest in Vietnam and by many companies and organisations looking to start trading in the country, provided the first overview of the content of the agreement.
Keynote speakers the Rt. Hon. Greg Hands MP, Minister for Trade Policy in the Department for International Trade, and Vice Minister of Investment and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh, both acknowledged the importance of this FTA, which provides a smooth transition for bilateral business as the UK finally leaves the EU on 31st December 2020. The Agreement mirrors the Vietnam-EU agreement announced in 2019, providing 90% tariff-free trading. Vice Minister Khanh told the delegates that the UK was already the second largest trading partner with Vietnam. Minister Greg Hands welcomed Vietnam’s support for the UK around the CPS for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Emily Hamblin, UK Consul-General in Ho Chi Minh City and Head of Trade and Investment for the UK in Vietnam, spoke about the detail of the agreement and its importance to UK business, including in sectors such as healthcare, technology, media and digital, education, financial services, and energy. There are already increasingly important partnerships in renewable energy and healthcare. Emily also encouraged British business to consider Vietnam as a key marketplace given its extraordinary growth. Vietnam’s Ambassador to the UK, HE Mr Tran Ngoc An, discussed the importance of this agreement to both countries and expected it to lead to even higher levels of trade in both directions. Heather Wheeler MP, recently appointed as the UK Prime Minister’s Special Trade Envoy to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, expressed her confidence in the growing business relationship.
The event ended with a lively Q&A session chaired by Paul Smith, Vice Chairman, and final words and warm thanks to the speakers, who all stayed until the end, from Warwick Morris, Vietnam-UK Network Chairman.
For those not aware of the content of the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement, details can be found at www.vietnamuknetwork.org.uk