President Vo Van Thuong (R) receives Ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to Vietnam Iain Frew on April 28. (Photo: VNA)
President Vo Van Thuong’s attendance at the coronation of King Charles III of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from May 4-6 will affirm the importance that Vietnam attaches to its Strategic Partnership with the UK as well as its wish to build up a fine relationship with the King.
The two countries established their diplomatic ties on September 11, 1973. Over the past years, the two sides have exchanged high-level delegations to promote the bilateral relationship in a practical and effective manner. In September 2010, they signed a Joint Statement on the establishment of the Vietnam – UK Strategic Partnership.
At present, the UK is Vietnam’s third largest trading partner in the European Union. According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, in 2022, despite impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, two-way trade saw a year-on-year increase of 3% to 6.83 billion USD, of which Vietnam’s exports surpassed 6 billion USD, up 5.2%, while its imports were 771 million USD, down 9.2%.
The two countries officially signed a free trade agreement (FTA) in December 29, 2020 on the principle of inheriting the FTA between Vietnam and the EU with necessary adjustments to ensure compliance with the Vietnam-UK bilateral trade framework. The deal, which officially took effect on May 1, 2021, has helped create a comprehensive, long-term and stable framework for economic and trade cooperation between the two nations.
Regarding bilateral investment, the UK ranks in the top 20 countries with FDI in Vietnam. According to data from the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment, as of October 20, 2022, the UK had 494 valid investment projects in Vietnam with a total registered capital of nearly 4.2 billion USD, ranking 15th out of 140 countries and territories pouring capital into the Southeast Asian nation.
Meanwhile, as of June 2022, Vietnam had 13 investment projects in the UK and added capital to three existing ones with a total capital of 13.9 million USD, ranking 39th out of 79 countries and territories receiving Vietnam’s investments.
Over the past time, Vietnam and the UK have also promoted effective cooperation in various fields. In terms of defence and security, the two sides have exchanged a lot of delegations, promoted cooperation in training and information sharing. The two defence ministries have raised their annual Defence Policy Dialogue to the Deputy Ministerial level; set up a working group on defence collaboration; and boosted cooperation in various priority fields such as the United Nations peacekeeping missions.
The two countries have also promoted cooperation and coordination in the fight against organised transnational crime, terrorism, illegal migration and human trafficking; as well as in the implementation of the agreement on transfer of sentenced prisoners and the agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.
In terms of development cooperation, the UK is one of the leading donors of Vietnam. Although the UK stopped providing ODA for Vietnam from 2016, it has supported Vietnam through development funds such as the Prosperity Fund and Newton Fund, and maintained its assistance in technology development, research and innovation, public governance, improvement of the business environment, green growth, and renewable energy.
In the field of education and training, the UK has actively promoted the participation of leading British educational institutions in training linkages as well as cooperation in the construction and development of higher education institutions in Vietnam. At the Vietnam – UK Seminar on Educational Cooperation held on June 30, 2022 on the occasion of the official visit to the UK by Chairman of the National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue, Vietnamese and British universities signed 10 cooperation agreements.
The UK has also participated in cooperation activities to use atomic energy for peaceful purposes, research, and innovation to promote economic development and social security in Vietnam.
At present, there are around 110,000 Vietnamese people, including 12,000 students and postgraduates, living, studying and working in the UK.
President Vo Van Thuong’s upcoming working trip is one of the milestones contributing to the continued implementation of the 13th National Party Congress’s foreign policy on comprehensive and extensive international integration and the Party Central Committee Secretariat’s Directive 25 on promoting and elevating multilateral external relations./.