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UK's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab arrives in Hanoi for further economic ties
Minh Vu 22:13, 2021/06/22
Vietnam and the UK look forward to building on the strategic partnership with a focus on trade ties.

Dominic Raab, British Foreign Secretary & First Secretary of State, has met with top leaders of Vietnam in Hanoi on June 22 to discuss trade and economic ties to tap the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA) that took effect on May 1.

Dominic Raab, British Foreign Secretary & First Secretary of State (L), and Vietnam's President Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi on June 22. Photo: MoFA 

At the meetings with Vietnam’s President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, and Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son, the two sides look forward to building on the strategic partnership with a focus on trade ties.

In the visit to Vietnam on June 21-22, Raab delivered a speech at the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) High-Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD). He focused on the British roadmap for the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)’s accession as the UK looks to explore new opportunities following its departure from the European Union and strengthen its strategic interests in Asia.

Joining the CPTPP is expected to help the UK get access to fast-growing economies across Asia-Pacific and the Americas, including Mexico, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

Vietnam is the start of his Southeast Asia visit to discuss the UK’s Indo-Pacific tilt. During the visit, Raab looks forward to discussing trade, security, and tackling challenges such as climate change, Covid-19, and serious organized crime.

In Hanoi, the UK's Foreign Secretary seeks Vietnam’s support for its accession to the CPTPP that London considers “a big step towards a stronger trading relationship with the Indo-Pacific region and will create jobs and opportunities for British businesses” as Raab tweeted.

They have also agreed to upgrade the status of the relations to a further level in the next 10 years.

Dominic Raab and Vietnam's Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son in Hanoi on June 22. Photo: Baoquocte

Regarding the trade ties, Vietnam and the UK signed the UKVFTA in London on December 29, 2020, mostly based on the terms of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and adjustments to be suitable with the bilateral trade.

Bilateral trade tripled from 2010 to 2019 to around US$7 billion. Currently, the UK is Vietnam’s second-largest export market in Europe.

The trade agreement will also help reduce tariffs to zero and eliminate non-tariff barriers on most goods from both countries under a short roadmap and help boost the volume of goods from both sides entering the other’s market, enhancing economic cohesion between the two strategic partners.

The UKVFTA will pave the way for a new wave of foreign direct and indirect investments from the UK in Vietnam in the former’s areas of strength, such as renewable energy and environmental technology.

In terms of investment, the UK poured roughly US$3.84 billion in 411 projects in Vietnam as of end-2020, ranking the 15th out of 139 countries investing in Vietnam. Its big companies operating in the country include BP, Rolls-Royce, Vodafone, P&O, GlaxoSmithKline, HSBC, Standard Chartered, and Prudential.

On the same day, Raab worked with Vietnam’s Public Security Minister To Lam on illegal immigration, human trafficking, and transnational crime.

Meanwhile, Raab held a valuable discussion with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh on the situation in the South China Sea and the importance of upholding international law.

On the international agendas, the two sides maintained close coordination in the UN Security Council when Vietnam has worked as a non-permanent member in 2008-2009 and 2020-2021 terms and of the UN Human Rights Council in 2014-2016.

The UK took advantage of Vietnam’s ASEAN Chair 2020 to extend relations with ASEAN member states.

Last September, during Raab’s visit to Hanoi, Vietnam and the UK released the joint statement on deepening the strategic partnership, which focuses on seven fields of cooperation namely political, global and regional issues, trade and investment, sustainable socio-economic development, education and training, science and technology, security and defense, and people-to-people links.

 Dominic Raab delivers the speech at the ASEM dialogue in Hanoi on June 22. Photo: Dominic Raab's Twitter 
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