UK Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire has highlighted opportunities for cooperation between Vietnam and the UK thanks to their already steadfast and long-term relationship.

He expressed his hope that cooperation in education, energy and financial infrastructure will deepen in the coming time at the Vietnam-UK Joint Economic and Trade Commission (JETCO)’s eighth session held in London on March 2, aiming to seek new driving force in the two nations’ cooperative ties.

The meeting presents an important opportunity to review the eight-year strategic partnership between the two countries, Swire said.

The host voiced his country’s support to negotiations towards the free trade agreement between Vietnam and the European Union, and praised the education incentives Vietnam devised, emphasising that it lays the foundation for a prosperous future.

For her part, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa spoke highly of the achieved targets set at the seventh meeting in 2014, including combating smuggling, strengthening education programmes, and building capacity in the judicial sector.

Vietnam is building a legal framework allowing international pharmaceutical brands to exclusively distribute their products in Vietnam, Thoa said, expressing her hope that the UK will accelerate the implementation of the agreement on recognising certificates for Vietnamese sailors.

The Deputy Minister suggested the two countries improve information exchange and communication on methods of goods delivery and storage to enhance cooperation in goods trading.

According to Thoa, Vietnam recorded a gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 5.98 percent and per capita GDP of 2,000 USD in 2014.

Trade value exceeded 298 billion USD, up 12.9 percent from the same period of 2013, with export value posting at 150 billion USD.

The country housed more than 17,500 projects funded by more than 100 countries and territories, valued at more than 250 billion USD.-VNA