Negotiations on Vietnam – UK FTA expected to be completed at year’s end hinh anh 1 Delegates at the workshop on Vietnam’s trade and economic future: opportunities for British and Vietnamese businesses (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Hanoi (VNA) - Towards stabilising and recovering the economy in the post-COVID-19 pandemic period, especially taking advantage of opportunities brought by strategic export markets, the Ministry of Industry and Trade in collaboration with the UK - ASEAN Business Council (UKABC), the British Embassy in Vietnam, the Vietnam Embassy in the UK held an online workshop on Vietnam's trade and economic future: opportunities for British and Vietnamese businesses on October 6.

Speaking at the event, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong said that in recent years, the business and investment environment in Vietnam has improved in a more transparent and convenient manner.

The country’s Government is determined to step up administrative reform to meet requirements of the market economy and create a reliable and attractive investment climate for enterprises.

Of note, amidst the movement of foreign direct investment (FDI) flows, Vietnam’s maintenance of positive growth in disbursed capital is an encouraging result, affirming its attractiveness as an investment destination, Vuong stated.

Regarding bilateral relations, he stressed that the United Kingdom is an important market and always a prioritised cooperation partner of Vietnam.

The United Kingdom is a potential market for Vietnam’s tropical farm produce, garment and textiles, footwear, wood products and mobile phones, while Vietnam is a gateway market for British businesses to approach the wider regional market, he added.

Negotiations on Vietnam – UK FTA expected to be completed at year’s end hinh anh 2UK Ambassador to Vietnam Gareth Ward and Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade at the conference (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Since the two countries signed a strategic partnership agreement in 2010, their two-way trade had increased by 3.5 times to hit 6.61 billion USD in 2019.

As of August 2020, the United Kingdom had 400 valid investment projects in Vietnam with combined registered capital of 2.6 billion USD, ranking 16th out of 137 nations and territories pouring capital into the Southeast Asian country.

With the outstanding results, Ambassador Gareth Ward said the two countries are speeding up negotiations on a new-generation free trade agreement (FTA) between the two sides, which is expected to be completed at the year’s end.

The ambassador emphasised the importance of the FTA between Vietnam and the UK, saying that the UK is interested in the matter.

Vietnam and the UK are unceasingly making every effort to set up legal frameworks on bilateral trade facilitation, in accordance with requirements of the new situation. They are also working to prevent interruption of trade and investment activities of businesses such as reviewing the application of the EU – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) in the transitional period and negotiating the Vietnam – UK Free Trade Agreement.

With the firm development foundation and potential of the two countries as well as efforts of the business community, determination of State agencies, cooperation in trade and investment between Vietnam and the UK will continue growing in the coming time, meeting goals and aspirations set by the two governments in the Declarations on Vietnam – UK strategic partnership signed in 2010 and 2020.

At the workshop, speakers also exchanged information and comprehensive views on Vietnam's economic and trade prospects, as well as policies and measures to promote bilateral economic and trade relations with the UK in the coming time, especially in the context that the UK left the European Union on January 31, 2020, and the prospect of early signing a new generation FTA between the two nations./.