PANO – Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (hereafter referred to as UK) David Cameron is paying an official visit to Vietnam from July 29-30.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1973, the Vietnam-UK relationship has seen substantial development and achievements, especially when Vietnam and the UK signed the Strategic Partnership in 2010 with seven areas of cooperation: political-diplomatic cooperation, cooperation in regional and global issues, trade and investment cooperation, development cooperation, education and science-technology cooperation, security and defence cooperation, and people-to-people exchange.

>> UK Prime Minister to visit Vietnam

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland David Cameron. Photo: VNA

In economic terms, the UK is among the top partners of Vietnam in the EU. The bilateral trade turnover has been rapidly increasing since the 1990s, reaching nearly USD 4.5 billion in 2014 and nearly USD 2 billion in the first 5 months of this year. Export from Vietnam to the UK has been increasing at an annual rate of 20% in recent years, with trade surplus for Vietnam.

The UK has opened hundreds of trade representative offices and business branches in Vietnam. In 1998, the country established the UK Business Group in Vietnam with an aim to boost economic relations and carry out charitable activities in the country.

By June 2015, the UK ranked 16th among 103 countries and territories investing in Vietnam, with 206 projects underway with a total registered capital of USD 3.19 billion. However, investment from Vietnam in the UK market remains modest. At present, only 11 Vietnamese projects mostly in tourism, sports and fine arts are operating in the UK with total capital of USD 10.8 million.

In 1994, the UK Government officially kicked off its ODA program for Vietnam focusing on technical aid and preferential credit. In September 2006, the two countries signed the Agreement on the Vietnam-UK Development Partnership for the period 2006-2015, in which the UK provided Vietnam with non-refundable aid of GBP 250 million. In May 2011, Vietnam and the UK signed the supplemented document to the above agreement, adding GBP 70 million to the aid.

In terms of education cooperation, each year the UK Government offers 25 to 30 scholarships for Vietnamese students. At present, more than 10,000 Vietnamese students are studying in the UK and 32 education cooperation programs between Vietnamese educational institutions and those of the UK have been implemented.

As for science and technology, responsible organisations of the two sides have signed a good number of documents on nuclear power for peaceful purposes, research and innovation, etc.

The UK has also been actively supporting Vietnam in developing the innovative industry as the country and UNESCO co-sponsored Vietnam in building up a policy framework and developing the cultural industry of Vietnam. The British Council in Vietnam has set up the Arts Fund to find and nurture the country’s artistic talents. The institution has also cooperated and supported Vietnam in opening training courses in management and holding cultural and arts festivals, and so on.

In terms of security and defence, in recent years the Home Office (Ministry of Home Affairs) of the UK and the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security have enhanced high-ranking delegation exchanges and cooperated in anti-terrorism, crime prevention programs and more. In November 2011, the two sides signed the Defence Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding, laying the foundation for the two countries to develop cooperation in such fields as defence industry, technology transfer, training, etc.

Cooperation in tourism has also seen development. The number of British tourists to Vietnam has seen a sharp increase over the past few years, from 70,000 in 2004 to 202,000 in 2014. Vietnam and the UK also signed a memorandum of understanding on allowing dependents of officials at representative offices to work and earn salaries in the other country.

During his official visit to Vietnam, the UK Prime Minister David Cameron will discuss with leaders of Vietnam measures to deepen the Vietnam-UK Strategic Partnership to  promote its strength and put cooperation potential in various areas into reality.

With the fine friendship cooperation between Vietnam and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Vietnamese people strongly believe that the official visit of Prime Minister David Cameron to Vietnam will be a success and turn over a new page for the Vietnam-UK relationship.

The People’s Army Newspaper

Translated by Huu Duong