Vietnam and the UK are accelerating negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA), with a view to signing the deal by year-end, according to Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang.
|Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang. Photo: VNA.|
“Such a deal would ensure a more comprehensive bilateral cooperation in various spheres, especially economy and trade,” said Mrs. Hang at a press conference on December 3.
The spokesperson stated that Vietnam will give top priority to cooperative relations with the UK, especially as this year marks 10th anniversary of the UK – Vietnam strategic partnership.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab previously visited Vietnam from September 29 - 30 with the trade deal at the top of the agenda.
Though the EU–Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) came into effect in August, the UK will, however, not be part of the deal as the transition period for its departure from the EU is coming to an end.
Without a new bilateral trade deal with Vietnam, imports from the UK would face higher tariffs from January 2021.
Vietnam is also hopeful of such an FTA with the UK as Covid-19 weighs on its export-driven economy. For this year, the country is aiming for economic growth of 2.5 – 3%, significantly lower than the previous forecast of 5% in May before a resurgence of the virus in July.
In 2019, bilateral trade turnover stood at US$6.6 billion while British investment in Vietnam reached US$3.7 billion.