British PM's Trade Envoy: UKVFTA ushers in a bright future for UK-Vietnam ties

VNA
“I am hugely excited that the two ambassadors are finalising this trade agreement by signing it today (December 29), cementing our historic ties and ushering in a bright future. I can’t wait to visit again”, Heather Wheeler, MP and Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy for Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam said in an interview with Vietnam News Agency correspondents.

Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK Tran Ngoc An (R) and UK Ambassador Gareth Edward Ward sign the Vietnam-UK Free Trade Agreement (Photo: VNA)

Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK Tran Ngoc An (R) and UK Ambassador Gareth Edward Ward sign the Vietnam-UK Free Trade Agreement (Photo: VNA)

Following here is a full text of the interview:

The UK - Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA) was officially signed in London on December 29, on this occasion, what message do you want to send to British and Vietnamese businesses?

On this historic day I want to wish all existing exporters and importers of UK-Vietnamese goods and services a huge pat on the back. If it wasn’t for their hard work, especially over the last ten years when trade has doubled, the importance of the negotiations means that 65 percent of all tariffs have been eliminated and this will increase to 99 percent over the seven year transition period. Both our Governments have realised how crucial trade is between us, providing jobs and steady access to great food, clothing and other products and services for our two nations.

As a Trade Envoy of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to Vietnam, what will you do to promote the trade ties between Vietnam and the UK?

It is an honour to be made the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Vietnam and having visited the country I will build on my contacts at government and industry level to promote tariff free and trade barrier free exchange of goods and services.

The UK’s expertise in sustainable development and technology will form early parts of our conversations. Sadly with Coronavirus many new opportunities will have to be worked on remotely but I have already made appointments and spoken to leading businesses in the education, financial and insurance, delivery and legal services fields of business who have existing companies in Vietnam and see the opportunities this trade agreement gives them to expand. As soon as I can travel to Vietnam I intend to. Equally, I will be delighted, with the support of the Department for International Trade, to welcome Vietnamese business here to assist them to expand their exports here in the UK.

How do you see the potential trade development between the two countries in the post-Brexit period?

In the post-Brexit era I see the expansion of exports from, first, Vietnam to include an expansion of their hi-tech industries being a new growth area. The talent that the young people of Vietnam have I see tech services having real potential. I also see future potential for new factories to be built, expanding the semi-conductor business for export too. For the UK, I can see our service industries, particularly professional services whether they be architectural or legal or accountancy growing.

Our two countries have great educational tie ups, especially at university level where I visited accountancy students on my last visit. This trade agreement widens government procurement opportunities to 50 percent of all contracts and I can see huge growth there for UK businesses.

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