Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (Photo: VNA)

London (VNA) – Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh has affirmed that Vietnam commits to supporting trade liberalization and open cooperation with all partners, including the UK, amidst the trend of peace, cooperation and globalization.

Addressing a Vietnam-UK business forum in London on October 9 that drew hundreds of businesses, the official said that since Vietnam and the UK set up strategic partnership in 2010, bilateral trade rose to 6.1 billion USD in 2017.

In the first six months of 2018, two-way trade hit 3.12 billion USD, up 14.2 percent year on year, he noted.

Vietnam is currently hosting 344 UK-invested projects with a total investment of 3.48 billion USD in various fields such as finance-banking, production, service, garment and textile, mining, oil and gas, and real estate, making it the 15th biggest out of the 129 foreign countries and territories investing in Vietnam.

At the same time, Vietnamese firms have run 13 projects worth 12.47 million USD in the UK, focusing on tourism, restaurant, sports and fine art.

With more than 12,000 students studying in the UK, the Vietnamese community in the European country has increased to 100,000, helping foster the connectivity between the two nations.

Vietnam considers the UK as an important partner, and the bolstering of economic, trade and investment collaboration with the UK as the major motivation for the bilateral strategic partnership, stated Minh.

At the forum, he also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on cooperation between the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the UK-ASEAN Business Council.

UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Vietnam Ed Vazey said that his country supports the free trade agreement between Vietnam and the EU, and added that the Brexit issue does not affect investment and business activities of the UK in Vietnam.

Discussing the future of the Vietnamese economy, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong highlighted economic achievements that Vietnam has gained in recent years, along with potential and strengths of the country and its commitments to creating favourable investment and business for foreign investors.

UK Minister of State for trade and export promotion at the UK Department for International Trade Baroness Rona Alison Fairhead said that Vietnam has become a promising land for UK businesses. She advised UK firms to make full use of their strengths in finance-banking, insurance, oil and gas, and pay more attention to cooperation opportunities in Vietnam in renewable energy, infrastructure, IT and education.

The same day, Deputy PM Minh had a meeting with David Liddington, Minister of the UK Cabinet Office, during which the two sides showed their delight at the growth of the bilateral strategic partnership, while seeking measures to continue boosting the ties in the future when the UK is leaving the EU.

Liddington affirmed that the UK Government is keen in continue fostering multifaceted partnership with the Government of Vietnam, including in strengthening governance capacity and high quality human resources training.

Deputy PM Minh proposed that the UK Government encourage local firms to invest more in Vietnam and strengthen cooperation in promising areas such as education, science-technology and tourism, while supporting Vietnam to run for the position of a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2020-2021 tenure.

Regarding international issues, the two sides pledged to continue collaborating closely at international forums, including the UN, and supporting peace, stability, and maritime and overflight security, safety and freedom as well as the peaceful settlement of disputes through peaceful measures in line with international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982.

Deputy PM Minh asked Liddington to convey Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s invitation to PM Theresa May for a visit to Vietnam.-VNA