Birmingham: A Catalyst for Vietnam-UK Relations

Ambassador Nguyen Hoang Long to the UK has praised Birmingham as a strong foundation for the Vietnam-UK relations, noting that the city will serve as a hub for commerce and logistics for goods coming from Vietnam, the second largest exporter of goods to the UK from Southeast Asia.

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Birmingham – An Impulse for Vietnam-UK Relations
Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK Nguyen Hoang Long (R) and Lord Mayor Maureen Cornish. Photo: VNA

The diplomat discussed the potential for collaboration between Birmingham and Vietnam, particularly its major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, in the areas of education, healthcare, and culture, during his recent meeting with Birmingham Lord Mayor Maureen Cornish. He underscored the importance of such partnerships in furthering the development of both nations.

The Vietnam Days programme, held from March 28 to April 27, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between Vietnam and the United Kingdom. The April 24 meeting was part of this programme. VietnamPlus reported on the event.

The ambassador lauded Birmingham as a major impetus for the Vietnam-UK relations, describing it as a hub for commerce and logistics for products from Vietnam – the United Kingdom’s second biggest exporter in Southeast Asia. He emphasized that the city will serve as a vital bridge connecting the two countries.

With the UK’s joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), trade revenue between the two countries now stands at roughly $7 billion, and it is anticipated to keep increasing in the future, Long remarked.

The ambassador added that Vietnam will require logistics centres in the UK to facilitate connectivity between its businesses and the British market, thereby transforming the UK into an essential hub for Vietnamese exports to the EU, the US, and other markets.

Vietnam is looking to bolster its information technology, artificial intelligence, science-technology, trade and public relations sectors – areas in which Birmingham’s Aston University, which hosts a number of Vietnamese students, is particularly strong. Long made this point during his speech.

He called on Birmingham’s authorities to propose that the British Government devise strategies to enhance trade relations between British localities and Vietnam, and to support British firms in investing in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.

For her part, Cornish reaffirmed the strong bonds between local authorities and the Vietnamese community, emphasizing that Birmingham is always committed to fostering friendship and forming partnerships with international localities, including Vietnam, in areas such as AI and science-technology.

Informing the ambassador on the city’s twinning relations with some cities of the Republic of Korea, the Lord Mayor said that the model could be expanded to localities of other countries, including Vietnam.

Vast Potential for Vietnam-UK Cooperation

Vietnam and the United Kingdom share a strong commitment to international cooperation and the potential for increased collaboration between the two countries is immense. From trade and investment to culture and education, there is ample room for Vietnam and the UK to develop a closer relationship. The two countries have already established strong ties in the form of bilateral trade and investment, and the UK is the second-largest European investor in Vietnam.

The two countries also share a common interest in developing a vibrant and sustainable cultural and educational exchange. The UK is home to some of the world’s leading universities and business schools, and Vietnam is home to a growing number of talented professionals and students. The two countries could benefit from greater collaboration in academic and research fields, as well as in the fields of technology and innovation.

Finally, the two countries could benefit from increased trade and investment opportunities. The UK is a major provider of goods and services to Vietnam, and Vietnam is a key market for UK goods and services. Increased collaboration between the two countries could lead to further economic growth and development.

In sum, there is great potential for Vietnam and the UK to build a stronger and more productive partnership. By working together, the two countries can open more doors for cooperation and create a better future for both.

Birmingham – An Impulse for Vietnam-UK Relations
Also on April 24, the Vietnamese Embassy and its trade office in the UK and the British Department for Business and Trade co-organised a seminar in Birmingham on business potential and opportunities in Vietnam. Photo: VNA

On April 24, the Vietnamese Embassy and its Trade Office in the UK, in conjunction with the British Department for Business and Trade, hosted a seminar in Birmingham to explore the business potential and opportunities available in Vietnam. Attendees had the chance to gain insight into the country’s economy and its increasingly attractive environment for foreign investment.

In his remarks, Long noted that there is still plenty of scope for trade cooperation between Vietnam and the UK – its ninth largest trading partner – and it is anticipated that bilateral trade could soar to $10 billion over the next three to five years.

Vietnam has been focusing on three breakthrough policies to maintain its impressive growth of 8% recorded last year. These policies cover infrastructure, education, and legal frameworks, and according to the speaker, British enterprises should take advantage of this as these are all areas of strength for the UK.

Trade Counselor Nguyen Canh Cuong emphasized the importance of the UK as a key trade partner for Vietnam. He noted that the two governments have worked to promote bilateral trade through legal frameworks such as the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Cuong expressed his optimism that businesses in both countries would be able to take advantage of the trading and commercial opportunities available.

He urged British businesses to analyze the Vietnamese market and establish direct connections with Vietnamese associates, rather than conducting trading activities through an intermediary.

Mark Garnier, Member of Parliament, declared that the policy of the United Kingdom towards the Asia-Pacific region after Brexit, in addition to the country’s joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), has opened up great prospects for trade cooperation between Vietnam and the UK.

Vietnam is an ideal destination for British companies looking to take advantage of the opportunities for cooperation and expand their trade and exports to the ASEAN region, which boasts a population of 650 million, according to an expert.

The MP also highlighted potential cooperation opportunities with Vietnam in renewable energy, education, health care, pharmaceuticals, financial services, technology, and life sciences. Moreover, they noted that such collaboration could be mutually beneficial in the long run.

The Department for Business and Trade is ready to support British businesses operating in Vietnam and Vietnamese firms investing in the UK, the minister promised. He highlighted the department’s commitment to helping both sides achieve success.

On this occasion, Cuong introduced a website in Vietnamese and English launched by the Vietnamese Trade Office, located at https://vietnamtradeoffice.co.uk/. This website provides comprehensive updates on the trade policies of both countries, with profiles of prominent exporters and standardised products of Vietnam. It is an invaluable resource for those interested in trading between Vietnam and other countries.

Currently, the UK is Vietnam’s ninth-biggest importer and the fourth-largest among the European and American importers, after the US, Germany, and the Netherlands. Additionally, the UK is one of the 15 biggest investors in the Southeast Asian nation, having invested in 500 projects worth a total of $4.19 billion.

Vietnam-UK relations have been highlighted in recent months as both countries look to strengthen their ties and work together to address global issues. The two countries have a long history of cooperation, with the UK being a major provider of development assistance to Vietnam. In recent years, the two countries have established an annual Strategic Dialogue to discuss a range of issues, including security, trade, and investment. In addition, the UK has provided support to Vietnam in areas such as education and healthcare. As both countries continue to deepen their relationship, the future of Vietnam-UK relations looks bright.

Birmingham – An Impulse for Vietnam-UK Relations
The special edition aims to bring Vietnamese land and people closer to British people, highlight the good bilateral relations and promote the friendship between the two countries. Photo: VNA

The Vietnamese Embassy has recently released a special edition of the UK’s Diplomat Magazine to mark the 50th anniversary of Vietnam-UK diplomatic ties (1973-2023). The edition, reported by Nhan dan (People) newspaper, highlights the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

The edition introduces congratulatory messages of the two countries’ foreign ministries and ambassadors, articles by and interviews with leaders of ministries, agencies and localities regarding the bilateral relations, along with organizations and businesses that have significantly contributed to the Vietnam-UK ties. It provides a panorama view of cooperation in all spheres.

Long affirmed that the Vietnam-UK relationship is growing fruitfully, especially in the context of the UK paying more heed to Asia-Pacific, including Vietnam – a strategic partner of the European nation in the region.

The special edition seeks to bridge the gap between Vietnam and Britain, emphasize the positive bilateral relations, and foster the friendship between the two countries, he highlighted.

The Vietnam-UK Friendship Year 2023 will be a momentous occasion, bringing together people from both countries to celebrate our shared history and forge new connections. We are delighted to have the opportunity to serve external activities that will help to strengthen the bonds between our nations. Through a range of cultural, economic, educational, and sporting events, we will showcase the best of Vietnam and the United Kingdom and create a lasting legacy for generations to come.

Rosy Huong