Vietnam and the UK have set targets of $4 billion in two-way trade and $3 billion in the flow of direct investment pumped by UK businesses into the Southeast Asian country.
The targets were announced at the 6 th Meeting of the Vietnam-UK Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO), which convened in London on November 8. Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa and Minister of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire co-chaired the annual meeting.
Opening the event, Swire said economic, investment and trade ties play a key part in bilateral relations between countries, thereby the UK and Vietnam have spared no effort to beef up their relationship in all spheres, especially in the fields of investment and trade.
He noted with pleasure that UK-Vietnam investment and trade ties have grown strongly since the two nations signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement in September 2010.
Having praised Vietnam as a prestigious and attractive market to foreign companies, including those from the UK , the minister expressed his hope that Vietnam would continue to be appealing to foreign investors and be competitive globally. He, however, pointed out the country's shortcomings such as complicated licensing procedures and poor transparency.
For her part, Deputy Minister Thoa said the issues and targets raised at the last meeting have been performed well, bringing practical results to both sides. The UK has provided useful support for Vietnam in training banking and financial staff and in reforming the banking industry as well.
The deputy minister suggested that JETCO should improve its operations, including preparations for its annual meetings, in a bid to seek effective measures to foster bilateral economic, investment and trade ties.
She revealed that in June 2012, Vietnam and the European Union (EU) signed a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) and have recently launched negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), thus facilitating economic, investment and trade ties between Vietnam and EU in general and between Vietnam and the UK in particular.
At this meeting, officials discussed and put forward a range of solutions to effectively settle trade disputes, promote intellectual property rights and speed up the implementation of Vietnam 's commitments to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, two-way trade between Vietnam and the UK exceeded $3 billion in 2011, including $2.4 billion worth of Vietnamese exports.
Vietnam 's export staples include seafood, footwear, garments, timber, coffee, mobile phones and components, while mainly importing pharmaceutical products, equipment, machinery, chemicals and steel.
In the first nine months of this year, bilateral trade reached $2.5 billion.
By the end of September 2012, the UK have had 163 valid projects in Vietnam, with a combined registered capital of $2.69 billion, ranking fourth among 20 EU countries investing in the Southeast Asian nation.
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