Vietnamese Support For New Trade Agenda January 2014

Vietnamese Support For New Trade Agenda – January 2014

British Embassy Hanoi


Grant Shapps elicits Vietnamese support for our 2014 commercial priorities. Bilateral trade talks focus on high value opportunities and market access. New Deputy Prime Minister requests closer UK-Vietnam education cooperation. Mr Shapps signs a Host2Host agreement to help UK companies access opportunities from the 2019 Asian Games, building on London 2012 legacy.


After an extraordinary year marking forty years of diplomatic relations through a transformed bilateral relationship, 2014 got off to a strong start with the visit of Minister Without Portfolio Grant Shapps to Hanoi from 6 to 8 January. The visit enabled us to hold annual high-level trade talks, which are proving an increasingly valuable channel. It also gave us a high profile opportunity to promote our priorities for the year ahead, including Vietnam’s first high value opportunities. It generated widespread media coverage, in which Grant Shapps set out the UK’s ambitions in this high-growth market; and demonstrated continued elevated engagement with Vietnam.

The centrepiece of the visit was the annual Joint Economic and Trade Committee, which Mr Shapps co-chaired on 7 January with Vice Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa. The talks covered two of our three high-value opportunities, resulting in joint commitment to work more closely together on preparations for the 2019 Asian Games and Vietnam’s nascent civil nuclear programme. Mr Shapps also pushed for compliance with WTO commitments relating to spirits imports – timely in the context of the ongoing EU FTA negotiations – and cemented agreement to further action against illicit trade. We will report the detailed outcomes and agreed actions separately

The 2019 Asian Games, which Hanoi will host, are a major opportunity for British expertise developed at London 2012. This was a theme of the visit. Mr Shapps signed a Host2Host Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Culture Sport and Tourism, establishing a framework for cooperation. Mr Shapps also secured commitment to support UK companies exploring related opportunities, and shared experience from London 2012 with senior officials from MOCST and the National Olympic Committee. We will report further on the Asian Games to set out how we will maximise this opportunity.

In addition, Minister Shapps called on recently promoted Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam. This prompted Dam to ask for a follow-up discussion about education cooperation, including the flagship Vietnam UK University project in Danang, but also more widely.  This is an unusual invitation which we are following up. Vietnam’s education needs are pressing and fundamental, and the UK is well placed.

Mr Shapps also met board members of the British Business Group (BBGV) and other representatives of the UK business community. Discussion covered familiar short term concerns and frustrations including opacity, bureaucracy and ineffective governance, balanced by unequivocal longer term optimism about Vietnam’s prospects. Mr Shapps confirmed HMG support for the newly launched Business Centre in HCMC and closer partnership between UKTI Vietnam and the BBGV under the Overseas Business Network Initiative.


Our move to use JETCO to progress our high value opportunities proved effective. Through the talks, the Vietnamese expressed real interest in working with us on the 2019 Asian Games, the civil nuclear programme and education.


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Countries: Vietnam
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