MESSAGE FROM THE BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO VIETNAM
2016 proved to be another excellent year for the UK-Vietnam relationship. We hosted a number of UK ministerial visits to Vietnam and, in November, welcomed the Duke of Cambridge to support Vietnam’s efforts in combating illegal wildlife trade. As the Embassy we supported a range of projects to improve Vietnam’s business environment and helped foster science and technology partnerships between our two countries.
The UK electorate’s vote to leave the European Union was big news both in the UK and globally in 2016. The British Government sees this as an opportunity to refocus and strengthen British trade policy and trade and investment promotion particularly in emerging markets. The new Department of International Trade (DIT) brings all British government trade and investment work together for the first time: International Trade promotion, Trade Policy and Export Finance. While promoting open markets and free trade agreements it will also continue to champion British trade and investment and, additionally, outward UK investment while also having responsibility for leading the GREAT Campaign which has proved to be a winning brand for the UK in recent years.
Vietnam is high on DIT Ministers’ agendas with visits by Lord Price, Minister of State for Trade Policy at DIT last October and in February, Dr Liam Fox the Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade.
Vietnam continues to attract much international attention. Growth was again strong in 2016 on the back of robust exports driven by the FDI sector. Growth in 2017 should again exceed 6% and Vietnam is predicted remain one of the fastest growing countries in the region. PwC’s recently published World in 2050 report forecasts that Vietnam will make the greatest move up country GDP rankings by 2050. There have been improvements in credible international rankings for the business environment in Vietnam including in the World Bank’s ease of doing business and World Economic Forum’s enabling trade indices.
I and our DIT teams in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City will continue to engage directly with companies, with our colleagues at BBGV and with the UK Asian Business Council (UKABC) to help British business succeed. We’re doing well in some sectors but there is still scope for a much stronger UK presence in this market. As well as engaging with the Vietnamese government, private sector and media to promote British goods, services and brands, we will continue to lobby on specific issues affecting British companies, while using the UK Government Prosperity Fund to help Vietnam improve the wider business environment in which you operate.
BBGV’s role, as the voice of British business, will be essential to helping British businesses to succeed in this sometimes challenging market but one I believe offers huge potential. I’m confident that our long established partnership offers our companies the best chance of success.
DEPARTMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL TRADE (DIT)
I am delighted to introduce you to the 2017 edition of the annual directory of the British Business Group of Vietnam (BBGV). This membership directory helps to connect all the BBGV members throughout Vietnam.
2016 saw some major changes for BBGV. They have used their strong base with UK companies together with their partnership with the Department of International Trade (DIT) to build their offer to new companies looking to enter the Vietnam marketplace. As it enters 2017 BBGV is now positioned to take on all the early access to market work for UK companies, including identifying Export Opportunities to help the Government reach its target of £1 trillion exports by 100,000 companies by 2020.
The BBGV expanded role will allow DIT to concentrate on the high-end value work and government to government liaison. So, every UK company looking at Vietnam can be provided with clear, strong and unified support from the DIT/BBGV partnership.
Whilst supporting new companies considering Vietnam BBGV also continues to assist UK companies already based within the country with a range of popular events, seminars and meetings. Their wide range of activities also includes undertaking charity support to a variety of organisations including the Saigon Children’s Charity and Save the Children Fund for its work in central Vietnam following the devastating floods in that region.
The economic growth in Vietnam of 6.2% GDP during 2016 and an outlook looking equally robust which makes the country attractive to companies looking for new trading opportunities. This has been supported by several senior visits to Vietnam by British politicians over the past year including Lord Price, Philip Hammond and Dr Liam Fox. All of whom have been impressed by the work completed so far and, also the many opportunities for the future.
Brexit will offer a new opportunity for British Business and the DIT is working closely with BBGV to ensure that British Business is kept to the forefront of discussions with both Local and National Governmental Officials and decision makers in Vietnam. With more senior Ministerial visits in the past 2 years than in the previous 10 years means that Vietnam and specifically trade initiatives are in the forefront of Government interest. If you are thinking of establishing your business in Vietnam I would strongly suggest that you contact BBGV to benefit from their many years of experience and knowledge of Vietnam and the trading practices here.
I wish everyone success for the year ahead and trust that whether your association with Vietnam is new or established it proves to be a fruitful and pleasant one.
HM Consul General HCMC and Director of Department for International Trade