Vietnam, UK seek to optimise efficiency of bilateral FTA
The second meeting of the Vietnam-UK Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA) Trade Committee took place in Hanoi on August 24 under the co-chair of Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Phan Thi Thang and British Minister of State for International Trade Nigel Huddleston.
Participants listened to reports on outcomes of meetings of professional committees that were held earlier.
Both Thang and Huddleston hailed efforts of the committees in coordinating together and updating each other on each side’s legal regulations, contributing to effectively implementing the UKVFTA.
The two sides discussed a number of issues such as the increase of Vietnamese rice exporters’ opportunities to access the UK market, and methods to calculate the free trade agreement utilisation rate.
Concluding the meeting, Thang and Huddleston agreed on the continuing to actively and closely cooperate at all levels to further enhance the exploitation of commitments of the deal, contributing to promoting the bilateral trade and investment.
The two sides agreed to hold the third meeting of the UKVFTA Trade Committee in London in 2024.
Earlier on August 23, Thang hosted a reception for Huddleston, during which she congratulated the UK on becoming the 12th member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), affirming that this is not only a good news for the UK, the sixth largest economy in the world, but also for Vietnam and other members of the pact.
For his part, Huddleston thanked the Vietnamese side for supporting the UK’s CPTPP bid and expressed his hope that the National Assembly of Vietnam will complete the ratification process of the document on the UK’s joining the pact at an early date.
During the working session, the two sides sought measures to bolster bilateral economic-trade relations, including the effective implementation of the UKVFTA. They noted that their technical committees and Trade Committee have fully held meetings, a factor in helping to enhance the overall efficiency of the CPTPP implementation.
Thang suggested the regular organisation of dialogue sessions between the two countries to update each other on the regulations on trade defence and discuss technical matters related to trade defence investigations process and situation.
She thanked the UK for providing technical support to help Vietnam complete the Vietnam National Trade Repository (VNTR) in order to fulfill its transparency obligations set out in the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement.
She said she hopes that Vietnam will continue to receive support from the UK Government to help businesses fully grasp the benefits of FTAs, thereby improving the efficiency of implementing FTAs within ASEAN while promoting new trade and investment opportunities in the region.
Huddleston welcomed the Vietnamese side’s proposals, affirming that the UK is willing to share experiences and implement assistance programmes for the Vietnamese side. He also underlined the need for closer collaboration between the two countries within the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) negotiations.
The two sides updated each other on common activities taking place within the World Trade Organisation (WTO), vowing to jointly promote ties on green, fair, and sustainable trade liberalisation moving forward.
According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, trade between Vietnam and the UK rose 0.5% to 3.95 billion USD in the first seven months of this year, including Vietnam’s exports of 2.5 billion USD.
So far, the UK has run 536 direct investment projects in Vietnam with total registered capital of 4.28 billion USD, ranking 15th among 143 foreign investors in the country.
In the first seven months of 2023, the UK invested in 28 new projects with total registered capital of 44.9 million USD in Vietnam.