This is a real milestone in the relationship between the two countries, the ambassador told a Vietnam News Agency correspondent on the occasion of the signing of the deal.

“This year we celebrated 10 years of our strategic partnership and we know that in the last 10 years, trade has increased dramatically between the UK and Vietnam which shows a very good dynamic,” Ward said.

British Ambassador to Vietnam Gareth Ward (L) and Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK Tran Ngoc An sign the UKVFTA

According to the ambassador, the free trade agreement will ensure bilateral trade continues accelerating. It will be good news for over 3,000 British businesses who export to Vietnam, as well as Vietnamese exporters.

It will be good for British consumers who want to have access to mobile phones, clothes and shoes, food or other products from Vietnam, he said, adding that Vietnamese people are more and more interested in products of the UK such as pharmaceuticals, machinery or drinking Scottish whiskey.

He suggested telling the trade agreement story widely because British and Vietnamese businesses need to take advantage of the opportunities.

At the moment, 65 percent of goods are now tariff free and the number is going to increase to 99 percent and that means there will even be more areas in which bilateral trade could flourish.

“We should make sure that British businesses understand more about the Vietnamese economy,” he said.

The ambassador highlighted this year has been a very challenging year because of the pandemic but Vietnam has still managed to grow 2.9 percent to become one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

So this is a big opportunity for the UK as the country focuses more and more on relationships with different regions, he said.

According to the ambassador, there are certain sectors like healthcare and pharmaceuticals that the UK is strong in, and Vietnam needs more sustainable, renewable energy.

So he said he is particularly keen on the bilateral relationship to grow in the area of wind and solar power. “Those I think are some of the trends that we will see going forward in the next 10 years.”

The ambassadors of Vietnam and the UK were authorized to sign the UKVFTA as leading officials of the Vietnamese Government and Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh were unable to travel to the UK to sign directly amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ambassador Ward said he is very pleased that he has been able to sign the UKVFTA alongside Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK Tran Ngoc An on December 29.

“So, this is a great day, it's very exciting for our trading relationship,” he affirmed.

Source: VNA