Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Cuong and British Ambassador, Dr Antony Stokes signed the Vietnam-UK 2011 Action Plan which sets out a wide range of new initiatives against all seven pillars of the partnership in Hanoi on Jan. 26.

The seven areas of cooperation for 2011 include political - diplomatic cooperation; global and regional issues; trade and investment; sustainable socio-economic development cooperation; education, training, science and technology; s ecurity and defence; and people-to-people links.

Addressing the ceremony, Ambassador Antony Stokes expressed his pleasure at the signing of the Action Plan soon after the Strategic Partnership Declaration was signed during Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem’s visit to the UK last September.

“The Action Plan turns the high level agreement of the Strategic Partnership into concrete detail,” the ambassador said, saying he believed that the signing of the document would heighten Vietnam-UK bilateral ties.

As agreed, the two governments will continue to deliver concrete outcomes in traditional areas of work such as education and trade and investment. Some outstanding projects include: the launch of direct flights from Vietnam to London in the second half of this year and the initial operations of the UK - Vietnam International University in Da Nang this year.

The launching of direct flights from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi to London would be a positive stimulation not only for tourism but also for trade and people-to-people links, Ambassador Antony Stokes said.

The ambassador also informed reporters of the Vietnam visit by the London’s Lord Mayor in March, which he believed would bring huge opportunities for the Southeast Asia country in infrastructure improvement to encourage economic growth and investment, as the Lord Mayor is an expert in public-private partnerships.

On the sidelines of the signing ceremony, Ambassador Anthony Stokes said the visit would also bring in great opportunities for British financial service companies to seek investment in Vietnam, as London is known as a major world financial service centre.

Also today, Dr Antony Stokes and Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Le Danh Vinh signed the agreed Minutes of the UK-Vietnam Joint Economic Trade Committee meeting which took place in London in late November, 2010. This event paves the way to deliver the commitments to improve the business environment made by both sides at that meeting./.