UK Pledges Further Cooperation with Vietnam in Various Spheres
|British Ambassador to Vietnam Gareth Ward. Photo: VNA|
British Ambassador Gareth Ward said in a recent interview with the Vietnam News Agency that Vietnam and the UK have substantial cooperation opportunities in the fulfillment of green growth targets.
The diplomat said Vietnam is facing a slew of challenges like increased salinity levels and extreme weather events, and the “very dynamic economy” needs energy to continue its economic development.
“So against that background, it's a big challenge to get the climate policy right,” he said.
The ambassador, therefore, said he is very impressed by the commitments set out by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, the UK, last November.
In his remarks, PM Chinh said as a developing nation, Vietnam has embarked on industrialization over the past three decades.
With advantages in renewable energy, Vietnam will build and roll out measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions by its own resources, together with international cooperation and support, especially from developed countries, in terms of both finance and technological transfer, the PM said, stressing that the move is to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
“So there's a lot of work that we can do together. And the international community also increased its commitment to provide finance to developing countries, such as Vietnam,” Ward said.
Specifically, the UK has announced new funding for the ASEAN Green Climate Fund, which will provide good investment opportunities in the renewable energy sphere.
“We want to work with Vietnam and other big donors and institutions like the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and other partners to ensure the climate finance is flowing to Vietnam, particularly to the grid,” he stressed.
The ambassador added that there are lots of private sector companies that want to invest in solar power in wind power, helping Vietnam to green its economy.
|A wind farm in Binh Thuan province. Photo: VNA|
UK willing to share experience in high tech, e-commerce, financial technology
Regarding the Vietnam-UK strategic partnership in 2021, Ward said despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the relations have made a lot of progress in politics, security and economy.
He highlighted the exchange of delegations in the year, notably the trip to the UK by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh from October 31 to November 2, and the official visit to Vietnam by British Secretary of State for Defence Robert Ben Lobban Wallace in July.
As members of the UN Security Council, Vietnam and the UK had exchanges of ideas on a lot of global security issues, according to the ambassador.
The highlight of last year was the signing and implementation of the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA), which officially took effect from May 1 and is creating opportunities to businesses of both sides.
“So this is an excellent time for Vietnamese businesses to be exporting to the UK and British businesses to be exporting to Vietnam,” he said, noting that the UK hopes to share its experience with Vietnam in high tech, e-commerce and financial technology.
Under the UKVFTA, the UK will abolish import taxes on 99.2% of tariff lines within six years, equivalent to 99.7% of export turnover of Vietnam to the country, VnExpress said.
While the EU has committed to giving Vietnam a tariff rate quota (TRQ) with an import tax of 0% for some products, the UK said it will consult EU statistics on bilateral trade between Vietnam and the UK in the 2014-2016 period to come up with a similar policy. The UK also commits to review and increase the TRQ amount for Vietnam's rice products after three years from the day the UKVFTA takes effect.
Export industries expected to benefit greatly from this agreement include seafood, rice, textiles, wood, vegetables and footwear.
In return, Vietnam will remove 48.5% of tariff lines, accounting for 64.5% of import turnover as soon as the agreement comes into effect. After six years, 91.8 percent of tariff lines will have been abolished, equivalent to 97.1% of the import turnover, and this will further increase to 98.3% of the tariff lines (accounting for 99.8% of the turnover).
In addition, the agreement also includes commitments on rules of origin, customs and trade facilitation, food hygiene and safety measures, and on technical barriers to trade and services, investment, trade defense, competition, state-owned firms, government procurement, and intellectual property.
|Workers at a textile factory in Vietnam's southern province of Long An, February 2020. Textile is on the list of industries expected to benefit from the new free trade deal between Vietnam and the U.K. Photo: VnExpress|
For the Covid-19 fight, the ambassador said Vietnam has done "very well” in speeding up its vaccination programme, which has saved many lives in the Southeast Asian nation.
“The number one achievement is having a high vaccination rate,” he said. “Your vaccination rate is the same as or perhaps even higher than the UK. So that's an excellent achievement.”
In addition, Vietnam has also modified procedures of tracking and tracing to make sure that it can be balanced against living with Covid-19.
He suggested the country focus on supporting the economic recovery and getting children back to school in 2022.
Partnership in health care
According to UNICEF Vietnam, 2,012,960 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine donated by the UK through the COVAX Facility arrived in Vietnam on January 25, helping the country speed up its large-scale vaccine rollout and accelerate economic reopening.
Gareth Ward said: “This donation is part of the UK’s support to Vietnam’s roadmap of opening the economy by facilitating its vaccine boosting at a large scale.”
“We are committed to accompanying Vietnam to embrace a new chapter in 2022 when we all can live with Covid-19 with peace and prosperity again,” he pledged.
The UK is currently one of the largest donors to the COVAX Facility, providing over 548 million GBP to supply vaccines globally, including Vietnam.
|More than 2 million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine donated by the UK via the COVAX Facility arrived in Vietnam on January 25. Photo: UNICEF)|
This contribution also marks the third bilateral vaccine commitment by the UK Government to Vietnam after the arrival of more than 727,000 doses of the University of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in 2021.
The UK has also presented equipment to Vietnamese hospitals, particularly electronic monitors and electronic dosage pumps, which help give a good standard of treatment to the small number of people who unfortunately get very ill with the disease.
In 2022, the UK will continue to strengthen the bilateral health partnership by supporting Vietnam to build a resilient health system through providing vaccines and medical supplies, and by facilitating knowledge exchange opportunities between the two countries. /.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh attended and witnessed a ceremony to sign 26 cooperation agreements between ministries, sectors and businesses of Vietnam and the United ...
On October 30, World Vision Vietnam collaborated with the Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs of the provinces/cities including Hai Phong, Quang Ninh, Nghe ...
Vietnam and the UK have agreed to soon recognize each other’s vaccine passports to facilitate the circulation of trade and tourism services between the two ...