UK Prime Minister David Cameron (L) and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung during the former's visit to Vietnam in July (Photo: VNA)

Vietnam and the United Kingdom (UK) have substantial cooperation potential across fields to tap into, especially following UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to Vietnam in July, according to Vietnam’s Ambassador to the UK Nguyen Van Thao.

In an interview with the Vietnam News Agency, the ambassador said politically, Vietnam and the UK have established all necessary mechanisms for cooperation and dialogue, and at the same time great potential for economic cooperation remains.

He noted that Vietnam has enjoyed an export surplus with the UK, yet Vietnam’s major export products such as apparel, footwear, seafood and agro-products account for only a small proportion of bilateral trade.

Thao believed that Vietnamese commodities, which have successfully entered the US, the European Union and Japanese markets, would meet UK market standards, provided that the country devises specific strategies and plans and selects the right products for the market.

He underlined that the UK has listed Vietnam as one of its 18 priority markets since 2010, opened trade promotion centres in Hanoi and HCM City and conducted many trade promotion activities, adding that Vietnam should import quality services that are available in the UK.

The ambassador also pointed to the small amount of UK investment in Vietnam, saying that a suitable strategy is needed to persuade UK investors.

Tourism is another field where there is great potential for Vietnam. According to Thao, 60 million British travel abroad each year, but Vietnam has attracted only 200,000 tourists from the UK each year, far lower than other countries in the region. Effective promotions would help draw more tourists from the UK, he said.

Concerning education, the diplomat said the two countries could boost cooperation in tertiary education. Vietnam has currently 11,000 students in the UK, and the project to establish the Vietnam-UK university in Da Nang is the first step for UK universities to invest in the educational sector in Vietnam.

Cultural exchanges are also very important, according to the ambassador, for improved understanding between the two nations and to lay a foundation for other cooperation.

To implement the agreements reached during PM Cameron’s visit and promote bilateral cooperation, Ambassador Thao said the Vietnamese embassy is set to organise a raft of activities in September, such as a Forum on Economy, Trade and Investment in London on September 10 with the participation of more than 200 enterprises from the two countries. Another forum on educational cooperation will take place on September 11, attracting around 100 universities from the two countries.

A festival named Exploring Vietnam is scheduled to be held near London Towers from September 12-13, the ambassador said, adding that a yacht competing in the UK’s Clipper Race will bear the name ‘Da Nang - Vietnam’ and will visit Da Nang city on February 2016.-VNA