During the event, participants were updated on Vietnam's economic situation as well as investment and trade opportunities brought by the U.K. – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA), which officially took effect from May 2021.

Delegates at the forum

They discussed the potential for investment in digital technology, fin-tech, renewable energy, and green transition in Vietnam as well as opportunities for Vietnamese businesses to access financial sources from the U.K. for green development projects.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh said in the next 5-10 years, Vietnam will become a country with rapidly digital transformation. He affirmed that along with the boom in online payments involved by Fintech firms in recent times, Vietnam is confident towards the goal of substantive digital transformation in the near future.

Highlighting the importance of digital transformation, Parliamentary Secretary in the Cabinet Office of the U.K. Heather Wheeler said that creating and providing effective digital service is now more important than ever in the context of the post-pandemic recovery, enhanced trade among countries and their involvement in global efforts to combat climate change.

She expressed the hope that Vietnam and the U.K. will strengthen digital cooperation and reap many achievements in this field.

Truong Gia Binh, Chairman of the Board of Directors of FPT Group, said Vietnam is a potential market for digital technology development with many advantages, noting that Vietnam ranks 10th in the world in technology training and boasts abundant human resources in terms of information and communication technology (ICT).

Binh said the ICT industry in Vietnam grows 17 percent per year, hitting 125 billion USD by 2021. Vietnam also ranks second in exporting mobile phones, and sixth in software services, in the world.

The Vietnamese Government also has a strong commitment to speeding up digital transformation at all levels, he went on.

Deputy Minister Khanh also emphasized potential for investing in green and sustainable energy development in Vietnam, especially wind and solar energy.

According to the World Bank (WB), Vietnam boasts the highest installed capacity of solar power in Southeast Asia, generating 16,500MW at the end of 2020. It also was among the world's top 10 for largest installed solar power capacity in the year.

He affirmed that the UK can become a leading investor in Vietnam with projects on digital transformation and green and clean energy.

Ben Backwell, CEO of the Global Wind Energy Council, agreed that the potential for cooperation in wind power development between Vietnam and the UK remains huge, especially when Vietnam has set ambitious goals of carbon neutralization.

The U.K. has strength and experience in offshore wind energy development and it can transfer technology to Vietnam in this field, he said, adding that the two countries can cooperate in managing power network.

According to Dominic Scriven, Chairman of Dragon Capital Investment Fund, Vietnam is a name that is attracting attention of foreign investors thank to its success in the COVID-19 vaccination program, increasing competitiveness, political stability and open investment policy.

Sharing this view, Ian Gibbons, CEO of the UK-ASEAN Business Council (UKABC), said that the Vietnamese Government has implemented the right foreign investment attraction policy with creating an open and transparent business and investment environment.

U.K. firms investing in Vietnam have received support from the two governments to establish or expand operations in Vietnam in all fields from education and health care to IT services, he said.

The bilateral trade turnover between Vietnam and the U.K. hit 6.6 billion USD in 2021, up 17.2 percent year-on-year and nearly doubled that reported in 2010. The U.K.'s direct investment in Vietnam in 2021 increased by 157 percent compared to 2020.

Dominic James, Director of Bilateral Trade Relations for Asia-Pacific of the UK Department for International Trade (DIT), said the U.K. considers Vietnam an important partner in promoting trade liberalization in the region, and DIT is working with partners in both countries to help businesses fully tap opportunities and benefits brought by UKVFTA.

According to Dragon Capital, Vietnam's GDP is expected to grow by 7 percent in 2022, and 7.5 percent in 2025.

Source: VNA