The Network’s Chairman, Ben Chapman, with co Vice-Chairmen, Paul Smith and Warwick Morris, and Vietnam’s Ambassador HE Nguyen Van Thao, President of the Network, called on the FCO’s Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific, the Rt Hon Mark Field MP, on 19 July. The purpose was to acquaint the Minister, appointed in June, with the role and aims of the Network, to seek his general support for our work and to discuss the growing links between the UK and Vietnam.
Ben described the rationale behind the establishment of the Network in 2013, its wide-ranging approach to strengthening the bilateral relationship, some of the things the Network does including supporting important visits. Paul highlighted some areas where Vietnam-UK business is really taking off, especially hi-tech collaboration and outsourcing, and Warwick underlined our support for the two governments’ Strategic Partnership, to which we tried to provide add-on value across a range of fields, including education and creative industries. Ambassador Thao outlined recent developments between the two countries, including high level visits and the increase in trade, and drew the Minister’s attention to several forthcoming events, including celebrating the 45th Anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2018.
For his part the Minister welcomed the role and activities of the Network, recognised that the bilateral relationship was going from strength to strength and assured the Network of his support for its activities. He agreed that more SMEs should take advantage of the new business opportunities, in addition to the bigger players. The relationship was an increasingly important one, on which we should continue to build, not least with Brexit in mind.