Vietnam-UK Trade and Investment event

27th April 2022

The Vietnam-UK Network were delighted to welcome Graham Stuart, MP, the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam to open a virtual event attended by over 30 British Businesses and organisations. Our full agenda included Sarah Leonard Head, APAC Export support enquiry Hub, to be based in HCMC, Sam Wood, the UK’s Deputy Consul-General and Head of Trade and Investment in HCMC and HE Ambassador Nguyen Hoang Long, Vietnam’s Ambassador to the UK.

The event was hosted by Paul Smith and Warwick Morris, Chairman Vietnam-UK Network who introduced the event and speakers.

Graham Stuart referenced that over 90% of global growth is outside the EU, thus offering a huge opportunity for British business to open new export markets. As he had seen for himself on his visit in early April ,Vietnam is a significant opportunity for the UK, particularly in Renewables, Education, Financial Services, and Infrastructure. The UK is a key partner for Vietnam, with a warm relationship strengthened through the Free Trade Agreement concluded in 2021.  Graham is committed to building a joint 3 Year Plan to drive increased trade, particularly through SME business in both countries, working with Ambassador Long, who is of like mind.

Ambassador Long talked about the tremendous success of COP26 which resulted in an action plan for Vietnam to achieve net zero be 2050. Vietnam and the UK are working very closely together to achieve early results, with UK experience of sustainability increasingly important. He also echoed the need to help SMEs to export to Vietnam through trade missions and regional sector-based events.  The Ambassador outlined a busy year ahead for ministerial visits in both directions, with 2023 being the 50th anniversary of Diplomatic relations.

Sam Wood updated on the current trading environment, commenting of the increasing strength and breadth of relations between the two countries. CPTPP negotiations are progressing, and Vietnam has been very supportive of the UK process. Sam also underlined the strength of the education sector,  pointing to new agreements for Brighton College and Ryegate Grammar School to establish branches in Vietnam.

Sarah Leonard outlined the Department of International Trade’s new Export Support Services, created to help British Business (particularly SMEs) to gain access to new markets, with the APAC service to be run out of HCMC . This will provide tailored expert advice with up to 5 hours of one-on-one assistance through in market advisors. SMEs with high export potential will be offered the in- market service. Telephone and conference facilities will be used to help businesses assess markets prior to a visit.

All the speakers and market experts made clear that there is no substitute for a visit to see the country and meet the people at first-hand.

Closing,  Warwick Morris talked about the role played by the Vietnam-UK Network in support of the bilateral relationship, and the access to experienced contacts in various sectors that the Network can provide through its growing membership. It will mark its 10th Anniversary in early 2023, having become an established focal point for business and others with an interest in Vietnam.