Talks were held between Vietnam and the UK in Manchester on June 11, co-chaired by Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade  Hoang Quoc Vuong and the UK’s International Trade Minister, Greg Hands, to remove barriers to trade between the two countries.

The Vietnam-UK Joint Economic and Trading Committee meeting, held during the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, focused on economic and trade issues of mutual benefit, easing short-term barriers to trade, and improving market access for UK products exported to Vietnam, such as meat, spirits, pharmaceuticals, and education programs, among others. Boosting collaboration in fields including intellectual property rights, culture and tourism, and energy and education, and between UK and Vietnamese universities was also on the agenda.

“Vietnam is growing at nearly 7 per cent a year, lifting millions of people out of poverty and increasing demand for high-quality British goods,” said Mr. Hands. “This is why we have made £1.5 billion ($2 billion) available to support UK exporters.”

“As we leave the EU, we are keen to boost trade links with fast-growing Asian economies. This will particularly benefit regions like the north-west of England. A key part of this government’s Northern Powerhouse and modern Industrial Strategy is to increase growth outside of London and the South-East.”

UK Export Finance (UKEF) has doubled last year’s risk cover available for Vietnam, with £1.5 billion made available to support UK exporters and their trading partners in the country.

UK exports to Vietnam stood at £786 million ($1.04 billion) in 2016, increasing by over one-third against 2015. British foreign direct investment in Vietnam tripled, demonstrating the huge potential the market has to offer to UK businesses.

The visiting Vietnamese delegation were shown the strength of the Northern Powerhouse strategy, with businesses present including KPMG, GSK and Futureworks Training Ltd. The Northern Powerhouse’s wide range of capabilities in digital technology, manufacturing, life sciences and energy as well as world-class universities create significant opportunities for investment.