The UK-Vietnam Business Forum was organised by the UK-ASEAN Business Council and the Embassy of Vietnam to the UK to showcase the business opportunities in this dynamic market. Attended by over 250 delegates, the over subscribed Forum featured keynote addresses from Pham Binh Minh, Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam and Baroness Fairhead, DIT’s Trade Promotion Minister.
Deputy Prime Minister Pham, in his keynote, entitled ‘Vietnam Rising: Opportunities in a Dynamic Future’ echoed the Asian Development Bank’s research that showed Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in the world with an expected growth rate of 7.1 percent in 2018. Currently, 70 percent of the population is under 35 years of age and by 2050, Vietnam’s population is expected to reach 120 million. He went on to say that as a member of ASEAN, APEC and the CPTPP, Vietnam is increasingly integrating itself into the global economy through a multitude of free trade agreements and business-friendly policy reforms, actively contributing to the shape of the open regional free trading architecture.
Trade Minister Fairhead highlighted the importance of Southeast Asia for UK businesses stating that the UK wanted to be part of the pivot to Asia. With an increasingly educated workforce and a growing middle class, Vietnam has positioned itself to be a significant part of the global supply chain and a vibrant economic hub for the UK to do business with Southeast Asia.
To strengthen the trading relationship even further, a Cooperation Agreement was signed at the Forum between the UK-ASEAN Business Council and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).
The keynote speeches were followed by very interactive panel discussions, the first of which focused on Vietnam’s Economic Future. The panel included: Mr Hoang Quoc Vuong, Vietnam’s Vice Minister for Industry and Trade; Rt Hon. Ed Vaizey MP, Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Vietnam; Matthew Cavanagh, Director, Group Government Relations, Prudential Plc; and Fraser Wilson, Director, Dragon Capital Vietnam. They discussed how Vietnam is positioning itself on the global economic stage and explored what the future of the UK-Vietnam trading relationship will look like in the near future. Key sectors identified by the panel where UK expertise could play a role were education, tourism, infrastructure and fintech.
The second panel – ‘Vietnam 4.0: A connected and innovative nation’ discussed where the investment opportunities in Vietnam lie and what UK businesses should now be planning for to be an integral part of Vietnam’s dynamic future. The second panel included: Mr Nguyen Ba Cuong, Deputy Director, Ministry of Investment and Planning; Mr Vo Tan Thanh, Vice Chairman, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Ms Le Hoang Diep Thao, CEO, MTV TNI Company Limited (dubbed Vietnam’s ‘Coffee Queen’); and Mr Huy Nguyen Trieu, Co-founder, CFTE and Associate Fellow of Oxford University. The discussions included insight on the support available and the practicalities of doing business in Vietnam.
The UK-ASEAN Business Council would like to thank the Vietnam Embassy to the United Kingdom for co-hosting with us and to Prudential Plc for kindly sponsoring this successful programme. To view more photos, key speaker profiles and the presentation slides from this event, click the links below.